I’m 26 Now, You Know

This is about a month delayed but it’s actually given me a hot minute to reflect. In case you couldn’t tell, the theme as of late is reflection.

I’ve officially entered the scary pre-midlife crisis of the late-20’s. Welp! A crossroads where excuses of immaturity aren’t accepted anymore and you are either married with kids or still chasing your hangovers at the bar every night.

I am neither.

I’m happily chillin’ with my cat Frank by my side, boyfriend watching the History Channel in the other room and the dishwasher just clicked off. Silence. I’m a homebody that looks forward to PJ’s and TV at the end of a day.

I’ve felt “stuck” for quite some time. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that I (we) have just been chasing so many meaningless things for so long that life passed by quicker than we expected.

At 26, I don’t have anything to show for my life. Really. In a non-pity party matter of speaking. I don’t have anything. I haven’t traveled the ocean blue. Well, except for my first big trip ever this year but that’s all part of what this next year will bring. I don’t have a family of my own yet or a ring on my finger. I don’t have a home or new furniture. I don’t have the successful weightloss story I thought I’d have by now. My job is just fine but it’s not what I’d always dreamt about.

But this is different than posts past. Remember, it’s about reflection. I’m content where I am. Too many years too late maybe, but I’ve finally accepted the past and the present. I’m okay with where my life is at. My health is something that I’ll have to continually work towards. Babies will come when it’s their and our time. A proposal will come when it’s right. Jobs, income, finances, homes, they’ll sort themselves out and I’m finally okay with it.

I didn’t have a light bulb moment. I was just tired of dwelling on the past. Thinking of all these “mistakes” I’d made in my short adult life. Going to college instead of making memories with my senior class, putting up with Channing’s shit, ditching friends, moving and moving and moving again, quitting and accepting jobs. For so long, I wondered “what if?” And honestly, I always will. I’m always going to be wondering “what if” but I’ve come to terms with the paths I’ve taken.

If everything hadn’t happened exactly as it had over the course of the last 26 years, I might not be as close as I am with my mom. I might not know a love as deep as the one I have. I might not be as accomplished as I am in my position at work or heck, I might not have developed the work ethic that I have. If the negatives that I worry about so much hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be who I am.

Who am I? I’m bright and thoughtful. I listen and I care. I am trustworthy and opinionated. I’m a realist and a tweeting millennial. I’m not interested in going out or having tons of friends. I know that I’m smarter than half the people that spent $35K on college. I’m a cat mom, a paperback book reader, a board game lover and a Minnesotan North Dakotan. I’m me and I’m okay with that.

I know that all of the things I want in my life will happen. The worst part about being the kind of person that makes a plan to make a plan is not being able to make a plan for life. Life happens the way it wants to happen, you can’t force it.

My Life In Segments: The Last 7 Years

I don’t know what it is, maybe it was turning another year older but lately I’ve been reflecting on the last 7 years. I dwell a lot on the past and I’ve never really put it down on paper. I’m hoping that this will help me move on from things that have been holding me down. Accept the paths I’ve gone down and focus on the present and future rather than on things that I cannot change.

So, why the last 7 years? Well, it seems like I break my life up into segments. I think everyone does. Within each segment are more segments but the biggest segments from my life starting with the earliest are as follows:

Kindergarten: For some reason I don’t have memories from before Kindergarten. I remember getting in trouble kissing a boy and I remember reading time in Mrs. Guy’s class. Kindergarten through early elementary is the first segment of my life.

4th – 6th Grade: I’d been teased starting in 2nd grade. Well, that’s the first time I remember anyway. Grades 4-6 were the worst. Those were the years I faced the biggest, meanest assholes of my entire life. Those are the people who I’ve honestly never forgiven and it’s the part of me that I hate the most because every time I see them on FB or in person, I want to see their faces smashed into the cement. Even after all these years, I can’t get over it.

7th – 9th Grade: These were some of the best years with some of the best people I’d ever known.

9th Grade: I moved. This was hard for many reasons and 10th grade is a blur.

11th – 12th Grade: 11th was probably the best year of my life. Honestly. I know that sounds lame. High school? I had great friends, I met so many people, I had so much fun and did so many things. I loved it and I loved me. 12th grade, I enrolled in college so I was at NCTC instead of H.S. with my classmates. It was different but it was okay. I have regrets about my choice but at the same time, I had a lot of fun and met new people.

7/11/2008: The day I met Channing. This is the last big segment so far. I don’t think I’ll have another segment until I have a child.


With all that being said..back to reflection on the last 7 years. I’ve never fully reflected on this before but I think it’s time. Like I said, there are a lot of mini-segments in between and there isn’t enough room in the internet for me to write down everything that I’m thinking. This is an overview, I think. Here it goes..

My relationship has defined my entire adult life. Because of the choices I made and the paths I’ve taken, I’m not who I thought I’d ever be or where I thought I’d ever be.

Before I met Channing, I loved the world. I had dreams and aspirations to travel, to get out of here. I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was going to do next. I didn’t know if I was going to continue school or what I wanted to be when I grew up but I was open and outgoing. I was carefree and had friends.

But it all ended within a couple of years after our relationship began. This is going to sound like a song cliché but I’m a lover. I’m a lover and a forgiver. I’m not a fighter and I’m not mean. When I entered our relationship, my heart was wide open. I loved harder and deeper than I’ll ever love again. I loved him more ignorantly and careless as I am even capable of loving him or anyone else now.

Thinking about it, a lot of the pain that cycloned in our relationship was due to his depression and upbringing mixed with my insistence on making him better. Over the course of 4 years, he broke my heart. Slow enough for me to stay but fast enough that I couldn’t leave.

But, eventually I did. Honestly, I didn’t have a choice. My mom and brother moved me out. I was an emotional wreck leading up to and after that day and didn’t understand what was happening in my life. I was broken. Looking back at it over the years, it was the best thing that ever happened in our relationship.

After a few months of back and forth, we did get back together. I don’t know if we ever really broke up but we were back together. Things had changed, he had changed. It wasn’t easy, it’s never been easy. But once we got back together, parts of the old him were gone which was good. If the old him would have stayed, there would be no us.

That was a little over 3 years ago now. The year and a half following us getting back together was heart-crushingly painful for him. There were some things that happened during the lowest moments of his life that were irreversible.

We celebrated 7 years together in July of this year. Each year has gotten better. We love each other on a mutual standing. We listen and communicate, we argue, we cry and we laugh. Our life together isn’t toxic like it once was and I am proud of that but because of the last 7 years, my life and outlook on life has changed.

I know it would have changed regardless but I can’t help but wonder who I would have been if I wouldn’t have met him at the fair that day. Would my heart have been hurt so badly? Would I have ever grown a backbone? How would I view the world? Would I have loved so deeply and fought so hard? Would I have found someone else, gotten married, had children, and bought a house?

I think that’s why I always ask those questions because my life was so planned out before I met him and for so long, I put him 100% before myself. I love Channing. Looking at everything that has happened good and bad; I’m glad that he was the constant in my life. I’m glad that I’m not damaged goods and had to go through all these ups, downs, and starting overs with someone else. I’m glad that all of the memories from the last 7 years have him in them and we can walk down memory lane together.

We have a rare story. Most people would have stayed gone. Most people would have left long before. Most people wouldn’t have and honestly, shouldn’t have fought for “love.” But for some reason we did and it was worth it.

I guess I don’t know how to say what I intended on saying in this post. I want to clarify for anyone other than my mom reading this. (Because she knows most of the story.) The turmoil and stress and life we lived then wasn’t and didn’t have to do with physical abuse. I fully believe that it takes two to tango but I think a lot of our early years together had to do with me wanting to help him. To fix him. To make him feel loved when he didn’t want it. I fought so long because I could see what he was capable of being. I could see that he was a great person, a great man, a great companion. He just couldn’t see it himself. He endured a different life than I had. A life that, in my opinion, didn’t always have open and loving arms like I was raised with. Again, he never hurt me but mentally, emotionally, my heart was taped together for a long long time.

My mom has always made comment that you can’t fix a person. She’s been saying this long before I even knew what love is. I think I was in denial that this is what I was trying to do for so long but she was absolutely right. The only reason, I think, that we are okay, that we moved on, that we are together, that Channing is a great man today is because he wanted to change himself. He wanted a better future than past and he was willing to allow himself that gift.

I’ve wanted to log this down for a long time but never knew how. Re-reading through it, I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say because I don’t have words for it. The last 7 years were sad and I pray that my future children never have to put up with what I did. I forced myself to be stronger than I knew I was capable of and allowed myself to be unloved as a side effect. Even with that being said, I’m so thankful and grateful for who I have as my partner and in my future. Channing is the worst and greatest thing that has ever happened to me. And I, of course, am the best thing that ever happened to him. 🙂

I’m sure you’re not, but if you are, I love you and am very proud of who you have become as a man, as a partner, as an uncle. You are capable of moving mountains, your dreams matter, and I am so happy to know that you will be by my side no matter what the next path or curve or day brings.

11th Day Of Christmas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
But yet I heard a knock at the door..
Who could it be, a delivery for me!?
I went to see but whoever was there,
was there no more.
Was it a sound in my head
or just a spirit in the air;
something telling me it’s time to prepare.
As the man in the family had to work half a day,
I decided there was no time to play.
My crock pot was lined and ready for use.
I pulled out the carrots, potatoes, and moose.
(Just kidding it was a roast.)
As the roast was cooking and made the room warm,
what better to do than pick up my dorm?
I did the dishes and made the bed,
took the garbage out and was ready to be fed.
Dinner was served and deserved.
The leftovers preserved..
We exchanged gifts full of if’s and thrifts.
Next up was a safe travel from here to there.
Munchies were bought and lottery tickets were a thought.
I had to buy them even though not everyone wins.
For even a dollar would secure me a new set of bobby pins.
We visited Ashley and surly but not lastly
watched the end of Home Alone which was very catchy.
Christmas Vacation was up next..
but I got a text.
Dad had made Gramma Aggie bars;
they’re a family favorite of ours.
From there to here after a quick drive,
to mom and dads house we did arrive.
Thanks to Sony and Un’s bogus phony bologna,
we finally watched The Interview
and then mom and I wrote this rhyme for you.
For now ’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a kitty was stirring;
for purring they were with such delight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Written by Orianah Fast & Julie Fast

9th Day Of Christmas: Baby’s 1st Christmas

Channing’s sister Savanna and her husband Louie welcomed a new baby girl into the family this past October. She’s such a tiny little sweetheart and she’s already brought a lot of joy into the world in the few short months we’ve known her!

Last night, Channing and I stopped over at their house to give them baby Evy’s first Christmas ornament. I searched high and low to find something that would be just perfect. Believe it or not, it’s not that easy to find a nice “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament around here that will last for years and years.

IMG_7976I happened to be in Grand Forks a couple weeks ago and stopped at Hallmark (praise the Lord!) and they had a pretty decent selection of 1st Christmas ornaments. I know that Savanna loves to read to Evy so I decided to get the one you see to the right. Luckily, I was able to find the matching book in town at Target too; “On the Night You Were Born.”

I had to read the book before I gave it to them. It made me a little teary-eyed reading it and thinking about when Channing and I decide to have kids and how life as we know it will change, how we will feel. How Savanna and Louie must have felt once Evy was born. How our parents felt and how their parents felt. Babies…children; they really are little miracles and once they step foot into our world, life never is the same.

“On the night you were born, the moon shone with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.” ~Nancy Tillman (On the Night You Were Born)

If you’d like to purchase this book or ornament for a new baby in your family or just because, both can be found on amazon.com.

189,302,400 Seconds.

Today marks year number 6 with this gem. It’s crazy to think about the last 6 years and to see how much we’ve both evolved. The experiences we’ve shared, the moments we’ve cherished. The trials, heartache, and joy we’ve been through. Together. And most of all to see the love that is the glue that holds us together, it’s in one word, unexplainable. (If that even is a word)

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I love you s’much, C.

Did you know…
That we’ve been together for 6 years?
That’s 73 months.
Or 313 weeks.
It equals out to be 2,191 days.
Or 52,584 hours.
Did you know that’s 3,155,040 minutes?!
Or better yet, 189,302,400 seconds.