Impulsive Inquiry

uncontrolled questioning of the world I perceive.


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Ancient Adult Mythology

I love blogs like Pinterest fail and cake wrecks. Not only are they hilarious, if a bit cringeworthy, but they demonstrate the inevitability of life’s imperfection. Even when turning to a professional, one can’t be be assured of the outcome.

To me, these examples are just further evidence supporting my hypothesis that being an adult is actually just accepting that “an adult” doesn’t exist. The adult is a mythical being who magically balances working and life, while keeping an immaculate home and throwing picture perfect parties for their not neglected-because-I-am-to-tired-to-function friends.

This is who I keep expecting to morph into. One day I will wake up and realize I am An Adult.

Not so much.

And I thought I was pragmatic. Ha.

If I have learned anything in the past seven months (or so) it is that being an adult is waking up and going about your life. Some days will be miraculous and some days you will get home and have potato chips and skittles for dinner. Either way, when you wake up the next morning, you are still an adult.

My life at 26 is so different than what I always pictured it to be. But, lying in bed tonight, listening to my roommates try to quietly eat potato chips (impossible), having originally fallen asleep at 9:30 on a saturday night, all I could think about was how content I am.

The idea of extended adolescence or millennials putting off adulthood is as misconstrued as the myth of adulthood itself. Being an adult is just a byproduct of our creation of childhood in the midst of the industrial revolution, or teenagers in the 1950s. The common thread of all these constructs is the lessened expectation that you have it all figured out.

Which, honestly, applies to everyone, and if someone says they have it all they are lying.

This fairytale of adulthood dictates when a person is supposed to have their life figured out, what happiness looks like, and that at 26 I shouldn’t be calling my daddy for help when I can’t figure something out. It says that If I haven’t checked those boxes, then I can’t truly be  an adult.

Conversely, it implies that once someone is an adult they stop learning and growing, which is possibly the most laughable part of this whole conspiracy. When you stop learning and growing, you aren’t an adult, you are dead.

Instead, I call shenanigans. I can have lucky charms for dinner and stay home or go out or cook a gourmet meal or get married or get pets or have kids or be single or work or not, without compromising my status as an adult. And I can always call my daddy. Being an adult is accepting that adulthood is what you make of it, and it is nothing like the movies. or pinterest.

“And she lived happily ever after” is three words too long.

“And she lived” is much much better.


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The Art of Procrastination? Perfected.

I have recently been hit with an odd  Catch-22 about blogging. If you don’t know what a Catch-22 is then read the book. Once you have done that and STILL don’t know that that means look here.

My problem is not that I don’t have anything to blog about, but rather, I have SO MUCH to blog about that I am rendered incapable of blogging at all. Thus, the events and topics pile up and I get frozen in a loop of wanting to blog but not knowing where to start.

Well, no one has ever accused me of being short on words, and when I get an idea I tend to be a bit stubborn. I don’t want to give up on that blog entry! But then something else happens, and something else, and it spirals out of control.

The solution, of course, is to write. Not about all the events and topics I have thought about posting about, no, that would be to logical (and waaayyy to time consuming). Instead I will write about my posting dilemma. This simultaneously negates and exacerbates my problem. While on the one hand, posting anything at all is liberating me from:

I CANT POSSIBLY POST THIS UNTIL I POSTED ABOUT THAT BUT IF I POST ABOUT THAT I MUST POST ABOUT THIS OTHER THING FIRST.

On the other hand, it is really just extending my posting procrastination as it pertains to the actual happenings or thoughts that have occurred. Either way, I’m screwed.

The upside is, this is my blog and I can do what I want. I have no obligation to post about certain things right when they happen! I have thoughts and opinions and experiences to share, but sharing doesn’t have to happen RIGHT THIS SECOND.

And this, my dear readers, is precisely my style of procrastination. Mix of ADHD distractibility with Anxiety Disorder induced panicking that I won’t get everything done and poof! Stress with a side of binge-watching tv shows.

Luckily, the anxiety inevitably wins out and I finish whatever I have been putting of, usually with time to spare. Thus, I have procrastinated and yet, I have not.  Procrastination perfected.

I knew it was time to stop procrastinating when I started having the dreams. Whenever I am putting something off for to long I have stress dreams that always contain the same three elements.

  1. I have to go/move somewhere far away right that minute and
  2. I haven’t packed. It is time to go and NOTHING IS PACKED!!
  3. My sister is yelling at me to hurry up OR yelling at me about the fact I have nothing packed OR yelling at me in general.

 

The settings/trips/what is actually going on changes, but those three elements stay the same. And when I start having those dreams, I know it is time to get a movin’ on whatever I have been putting off (usually packing oddly enough, I am quite the literal dreamer).

To cross blog entry off that to-do list here is a highlights reel of what has been happening in my life/random thoughts/other things, that I may or may not expand upon in the future. Pictures included when applicable.

My Grandmother turned 100 years old last monday (may 5)

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I have a new baby cousin (as of this morning!)

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My whole paternal side of the family was in town for said grandmother’s birthday party (here are me and my sibs)

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My dad (who was born on his mother’s birthday) also had a birthday.

I am learning how to pick locks (for fun!)

I have been on multiple dates with two specific men. One from the internet, one from the science fair.

I had the necessary ‘returning stuff to the ex’ meet up

I chipped my front tooth by wearing my new night-gaurd and had to get it filled in with fake tooth (hilarious story. really. Ask me about it.)

I had a wonderful day in the sun

I am midway through my second to last week at ILABS

I have 3.6 weeks until I head to northampton

I have to move

Now that the chaos from the family whirlwind is over I can finally take some time to focus on these important facts:

  • I have to move
  • I have to read all of the ‘suggested’ reading articles for the first week of class
  • I have to move
  • I have to wrap up things at work and clear out
  • I have to move

As you can see there is one particular issue I am struggling to grasp. And thus, the dreams.

I know I can get it all done( just as soon as that panic kicks in) 😀

oy.


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Relocation Avoided.

Yesterday I received the geographic placement for my internship, and I am extremely thrilled to say that I am staying in Seattle!

Throughout this grad processes many people have asked me iterations of these three questions:

“Why do you want to stay in Seattle?”

Sure they get that my family is here, and my life is here, still…

“Don’t you want to embrace an opportunity to live in a different city? It isn’t for that long…”

Yes, they know what a crazy year it has been, but…

“Don’t you want an adventure?”

No. I don’t want to live in another city thankyouverymuch.

I want to stay right here.

So to all those who weep for my lost adventure, here is a list of reasons why I really, truly, have absolutely no desire to move to another city for this year’s placement.

  1. The ludicrous span of time in which I would have to build a life. First of all, who can find housing to rent for eight months? Taking into account those eight months are from September to April, when nothing is for rent. Second, it is hard is to make friends and meet new people while starting a new job and learning about a new city. It takes time! It takes energy! Then once you finally settled in, it is April and it is time to leave.
  2. I have had just about as much change and instability in the past year as I can handle. I still have to move, but at least I can still live with my lovely roommates. I have to leave my job, but I will have my city around me.
  3. My cousin is about to have a baby (literally it could happen any minute, due date was yesterday!) and I want to be around for her first year. Just like I want to be there for the fab three’s third years and little farmer’s fourth year. I missed little farmer’s first year and that sucked!
  4. My people are here. I have support systems here that I am going to need to get through this first year. I am not ashamed to admit I am going to need my mom and dad (mostly for awesome home cooked meals, but still.) The friends I live with and the friends I don’t. I am going to need their support.
  5. Seattle is more than the city I live in. It is part of me in a way that is indescribable. Seattle calms me down and centers me. It helps me regain my footing and is a friend in a way inanimate objects or places shouldn’t really be but are.
  6. I will have another chance to live in a random city if I want to. A year from now I might want to go off and live somewhere else for eight months, and I CAN! In fact, the program encourages moving to a different place for the second year.

 

And there it is. There are a million more reasons I am glad to stay, and just as many reasons why I should go.

Either way, I promised myself no regrets.

Bring. It. On.SSW_LOGO_small_v2


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I am not good at waiting.

Fun fact. I am not good at waiting. I am a planner. I like to know what is coming around the bend three miles down the road. I knew where I wanted to go to college when I was 12. This is who I am.

I am not a spontaneous trip taker or a spur of the moment change in plans girl. I like to know what is happening, where, when, how we are getting there, how we are getting back, what we will be doing while we are there and any other details about it no matter how small.

This is why waiting to hear about my grad internship placement is killing me.

On Facebook, other people are announcing they have heard (another reason I hate Facebook). Some of them only know the geographical area, others also know the agency. I KNOW NOTHING!

Thus, I am cracking up. I am refreshing my email every minute. I am reading the posts and counting how many people are placed in Seattle so far and hating them for existing.

As time marches forward and I start arranging flights and last days of work and goodbyes it is even more imperative i know where I will be come september. I want to be able to say “I am leaving for northampton for 10 weeks then I will be back in Seattle, or moving to the Bay Area or moving to Chicago or moving to Colorado.” I am so tired of saying “…and then I have no idea!” AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Lord.

So now I have a last day of work (May 16th) and a going away party day (May 17th) and a flying to Boston day (May 27th) and a moving in to the dorms day (May 29th) and a start of orientation day (May 30) and a move out of the dorms day (August 16), but no idea what comes after that.

hoo-boy.

now, if you will excuse me, I have to check my email.


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Set This House in Order

I am taking this week to start the process of moving out of my house. But really it isn’t a whole week.  Monday and Tuesday were Passover seders (more on that later) and so it is really three days. Which is a ton of work. The point of the exercise is to winnow down the amount of my junk lying around the house so that it is only the every day type stuff that is cluttering all the door and hallways. (Lord have mercy  on me for my convoluted run-on sentences).

Beyond the physical packing, I am taking time this week to organize my mind. Well, at least try to. In a single week my entire reality shifted, and, in classic Abbie fashion, I have been barreling on full speed ahead. No time to stop, let alone process the changes, deal with the gains and losses, or figure out what exactly I am feeling verses what a normal, mentally healthy person would be thinking. So now is the time to Set. This. House. In. Order.

The phrase comes from the book Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls by Matt Ruff. A spectacular story about the power dynamic between one man’s multiple personalities, I recommend it to all. While I have no proof of multiple personalities, organizing my mind is a chore,which, much like cleaning my room, I have let fall by the wayside.

So now, in these three days (plus the weekend I guess), I will attempt to:

1. Pack up all the books that I read over and over again to be kept at my parents’ house.
1a. Actually take those books out of my car and put them in my parents’ house.

2. Sort the rest of my books into:
A. Books to be read.
B. Books to be swapped. (if you don’t know about paperback swap it is amazing and I will give it its own entire post someday!)

3. Sort my clothing into four categories:
A. keep to wear now and over the summer.
B. Pack to store for winter and keep at my parents’ house.
C. Try and Sell. (Ha, like people want my old clothes :P)
D. Goodwill.

4. Actually distribute said clothing to its proper location.

5. Sort through all the random objects in my room/around the house and throw most of them away.
5a. If it can’t be thrown away pack it up and store it at my parents house unless:
i. I will need to use it now or over the summer, or
ii. It belongs to someone else (If this is the case then)
iii. Return all borrowed objects (or items of clothing) to their proper owners
iiii. (if I can remember who those proper owners might be…)

6. Take a moment or two to blog and/or journal in an attempt to set my mind in order (ooo, checking part of that one off now)

7. Spend some time with my brother who is in town (and can conveniently carry heavy boxes…hmm…)

8. Let myself relax with a book or tv show or puzzle or cup of tea without letting it take over the productivity of an entire day.

As it is 12:43 and I have been watching Dr. Who all morning (now with a pot of tea)  the productivity of the rest of the day that is in jeopardy. Though, I am 6. blogging…and 7. my brother is supposed to come over later…and this is 8…. and yesterday I did a bunch of 1. (though no 1a) and 2.

Progress, mostly in the right direction, if I do say so myself. Which is pretty darn good for me. As it is now 12:53 and I probably won’t finish editing and posting this until after 1, maybe I will just dedicate the rest of the day to the self indulgent part of this moving process and do more of the heavy lifting stuff tomorrow…I can talk myself into anything I swear!

 

I would like to add an upcoming attractions segment: “Things I have half written blog posts about and will eventually finish”

  • Paws on Science
  • Women’s Wellness Weekend
  • Grief and its unusual forms
  • The seattle freeze and why you are wrong
  • Passover
  • My new adventures in dating (I know y’all can’t wait for that one!)

Don’t touch that dial!


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You do, or you don’t, don’t. You will, or you won’t, won’t.

I have a decisiveness problem.

It isn’t the big life choices, but the little things that trip me up. I can not for the life of me figure out what I want for dinner. Or whether or not to throw something out. Which brings me to my other major problem.

Coming from what is probably an extension of my inability to make a decision, mixing with a ridiculous sentimental attachment to everything I touch, is my tendency to NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY! And thus I am overwhelmed with Stuff.

Now, I have plenty of useful things such as books and clothes (yes, books always come first) as well as some genuinely sentimental objects, my cousin’s wedding invitation or the triplets’ birth announcement. But mostly what I have is Stuff.

Random things that have made their way into my life via purchase, gifts, migration from my parents’ house, limited length nostalgia, etc.

It is this debris that is cluttering my room, many parts of my house and my car. The problem is, when I pick up an object that is Stuff classified I don’t think “useless, throw it away.” No, I think “hmm, where did I get this? Will it be useful in the future? Does it now or has it ever been sentimental? Will it in the future?”  The answers should be ” Does it matter? No. No. Does it matter? throw it out!” but I inevitably put it somewhere and promptly forget about it.

Normally, swimming in my world of quasi-useful debris isn’t that big of a deal to me. It isn’t dirty, just cluttered. But now, as I face the expedited necessity to pack up and move out, the sheer volume of crap has overwhelmed me.

I am stuck floating in a sea of indecision facing the need to sort what is really useful or important from what is junk.

And I suck at this.

So I haven’t started.

Throw in that I HATE folding my laundry (not doing laundry, just folding it) and it is immobilizing. People trying to help ask me what to keep, what to throw away and I don’t know. I decide something as simple as ‘want?: I do or don’t, Need?: I will or won’t.

Luckily, I think I have found a solution thanks to Beth Wolsey at Five Kids is A Lot of Kids and her 5 simple steps to decluttering.

Time to start digging.

 

*The title comes from the song ‘no more’ by 3lw


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Owning my job title or ‘Toy Waver’ is not a dirty word

For nearly two years I have had the amazing opportunity to work as a research assistant at one of the preeminent developmental neurolinguistic laboratories in the world.  This job has meant working at the cutting edge of science, working on projects that will have a lasting impact on what the rest of the world knows about the developing brain and using the newest technology and techniques for data collection.

It also means that most people have absolutely no idea what I do for a living.

Usually when answering the question “so, what do you do?” the conversation goes one of two ways:

Conversation A

Me: “I am working as a research assistant at a developmental neurolinguistics lab.”

Other Person: “Ahhh. A research assistant. That is interesting. What exactly do you do?”

Me: “Well, we use EEG, MEG and MRI technology to look at how babies process different components of language.”

Other Person: “mmmhhmmm. Well that sounds very nice. What are some specific things you do?”

Me: “Well, I am called a toy waver *the rest of what I say is completely ignored by the other person*”

Conversation B

Me: “I am working as a research assistant at a developmental neurolinguistics lab.”

Other Person: “Huh?”

Me: “I put babies in magnets and look at their brains. I am called a toy waver. Specifically *the rest of what I say is completely ignored by the other person*”

As shown, the outcome of either conversation is the same. And it proceeds thusly:

Me: “Toy Waver”

Other Person: “So you play with toys for a living? That sounds fun! You are so lucky!”

Me: “Well actually, *the rest of what I say is completely ignored by the other person*”

This has led to my rejection of the title ‘Toy Waver.’ Instead I insist that I am a RESEARCH ASSISTANT doing SCIENCE. I do not “play with toys” I HAVE A VERY CHALLENGING AND PROFESSIONAL JOB! I mean it. I do! And toy waving is only one part of my job. I do many, many, MANY other things in the lab. Important, sciencey things. Things that have NOTHING TO DO WITH TOYS!

But recently I have come to realize that people do not denigrate my position out of malice, but out of ignorance. Even within my lab the only people who truly understand are other toy wavers. People who have been there. Who have been drooled on. Which means that out of the total population of the world there are nine people who understand my job.

Nine.

In the entire world (as far as I know).

In recognition of this, I am going educate rather than lash out. I will replace shame with pride. I will reclaim being a ‘Toy Waver” with my head high.

Here it goes.

A (very, very) brief explanation of what it means to be a ‘Toy waver.’

  • I do not play with toys all day.
  • Toy waving is technically called ‘running subjects for very important science
  • We spend a HUGE amount of time training before we are allowed to run actual subjects. Usually we have to run about 30 subjects before getting the all clear and we still don’t know what we are doing.
  • It is my job to keep a baby (yes a real baby) from getting upset while strangers move them around, restrict their movement and touch them on the head.
  • This is hugely complicated and usually involves the use of diplomatic techniques that the UN would be jealous of.
  • Sometimes it also involves bribery in the form of the ever-coveted cheerio.
  • When the baby moves to the machine itself It is my job to simultaneously navigate them into the right position, keep them distracted from the machine and make sure their parent is in the right place.
  • I then have to keep the baby (who is in a highchair-like seat with their head movement restricted) distracted, quiet and STILL. For 15-18 minutes.
  • By distracted I mean not happy but not sad. Happy is as bad as fussy because both lead to movement which is to be prohibited at all costs. If something stops a baby’s fussing but makes it laugh, I have to move to the next toy. It is a delicate balance of interesting and bland. A true art.
  • Without talking. For real. Absolute Silence.

And that my readers, is an incredibly generalized, very short, quick and dirty description of toy waving. Much like the stay at home parent’s reaction when someone says “you are so lucky you don’t have to work,” when I hear “you are so lucky you just get to play with toys all day” I am hoping that when I *facepalm*  it is my face that the palm hits, and not theirs.