The 27 year old undergrad.

It has been a busy, stressful summer.  I started classes the day after moving into our new apartment and we still aren’t completely unpacked and set up.  We have been frequently thrift shops looking for furniture, but haven’t had any luck.  Things are slowly coming together back up in the great white north!

My summer semester was definitely hard, it is such a shock going from the working world back into school full time.  But I made it, and with decent grades.  The biggest shock of all, however, was the fact that I am at a completely different life stage them most of my classmates.  Being a 27 year old in undergrad classes, I am 8 years older then some of my peers.  Although that really isn’t much when you consider one’s lifespan, it is quite a difference in what “phase” of life is happening.

I am 27, will be celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary with the Artist at the end of this month, I have lived on my own and with the Artist for many years and in turn have many bills to pay, and my favourite pass times include reading, watching films, listening to CBC radio, cooking (well, I am the assistant- the Artist is the actual cook!), relaxing while listening to our record collection, getting crafty, and powerlifting.  Through conversation with other students around campus, it seems, as it should when you are 19, that going to bars and hanging out with friends are what the kids are doing these days.  I wish I was saying that I was declining invitations to go out to the bar because I just wanted to go home and relax, but it must be obvious that I am an old lady.  Either that, or I come across as an unapproachable person.  Its probably both.  Chandler from Friends articulates it perfectly…

Chandler Bing

I also feel like I am one of the last people to be fit the “starving student” archetype.  I feel like I am surrounded by people who can afford all kinds of travelling and vacations, Mac laptops to bring to class for note taking, take-out food whenever they want, and no problems paying tuition or rent.  Meanwhile, I am doing my laundry in my bathtub, using the campus food bank, sharing a laptop with the Artist (we need a computer equally for our own livelihoods) as well as a cell phone, and taking notes in class with a notebook that my parents bought for me and a pen I took from their  house.  I filled that notebook completely, so lets hope they buy me a new one for the upcoming term, LOL.  I also have no idea how I will be paying my tuition that is due at then end of this month, not to mention bills, and I continuously sew together the same few clothing items that keep gaining new holes or tears.

It is all very weird, being in undergrad classes at 27.  When I was 19, I thought for sure that at 27 I would have the best job that ever existed and been done school with a prestigious degree(s) and have my dream home and life all figured out.  Well, I have come to the conclusion that you never really figure life out.  It is an ongoing journey with changing goals and aspirations along the way- so you might as well enjoy things, one day at a time.

Today I enjoyed bacon, egg and veggie scramble, and hash browns for lunch.  I enjoyed grocery shopping and still having about $10 left over for any other food needs that might arise this week.  I am going to workout later with the Artist, and despite my current sciatic pain, I will enjoy that too.  I will enjoy watching the Olympics tonight snuggled up with my love, and I will enjoy how beautifully gloomy and rainy it is this afternoon.

To see more photos of me enjoying the simple things in life, check me out on instagram @capitaineflash

As much as I would LOVE to travel and take a vacation, not have to worry about how I will pay tuition, or go shopping for new clothes and shoes whenever I feel like, I am sharing my life with someone who makes me smile and laugh every day, who shows me unconditional love, supports me, and inspires me….and that is more important than anything.

Suddenly, the mangled and torn insoles of my shoes seem so insignificant ❤

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Why Not Having a Cell Phone Makes Me More Organized, Reliable, and Resourceful.

When the Artist and I moved here from Ontario, Canada, we cancelled our Canadian cell phones.  Our intent was to get new ones when we got settled in St. Louis.  However, it seemed like the best financial and most practical option for keeping in touch with family back home, and considering our current needs, that cell phones were not needed, rather, a home phone would work.  Our home phone is exactly $19.99 every month and it includes unlimited nationwide calling, including Canada.  Our bill never changes.  At this point, cell phones would be only for talking with each other, as international minutes and texting is not something included in basic cell plans.  It was very weird at first, not having a cell phone.  And it was really inconvenient, and even now, 2 years later, it is still inconvenient.  But all in all, I have come to enjoy not having a cell.  I use Facebook and this blog when it comes to social media, but that’s it- no instagram, twitter, etc.  I don’t download music or movies or anything, I prefer to listen to the radio or my record player.

I do not like listening to music while walking outside as I feel like I am not aware of my surroundings and it makes me feel sort of unsafe at times.  And instead of doing whatever it is people do on their phones while at the movies waiting for the movie to start, I talk with whomever I am with, I read that free magazine about the up and coming movies, or really enjoying my concession snacks…..out for dinner, instead, I talk with the company I have, I consciously think about the food I am eating and how I am enjoying it, and maybe even have a conversation with the server….while driving I listen to the radio or talk with my passenger (rather then endanger us and other drivers because I am on my phone!)….while walking outside I take in the scenery, or talk with whom I am walking with….while on a plane/bus/transit of sorts, I read a good book, talk with whom is next to me, meet someone new and hear their story and where they are from, or catch up on some sleep….the list goes on.  And for each of these examples, sometimes just being alone to my thoughts.  When I had a cell phone, this never happened, in fact, I didn’t really have “thoughts” as I was on my phone all the time.  Also, notice how I said “talk with whomever I am with” for each one?  What if I was on my phone the whole time and missed out on all of those great conversations?!  Since I have not have a cell phone, I read more, talk more, notice scenery, nature, and architecture more, I enjoy food more, and I just enjoy the simple things more.  I notice the weather more, the sky more, I notice smells and sights, colours of things, and people.  And I like it.  I like not being able to be reached 24/7.  What did people do before cell phones?  They had a home phone and if you were gone when someone called they left a message and you returned it when you were available.

Now to focus on the title of this post, not having a cell phone does make me more organized, reliable, and resourceful.  I am sure that being able to look something up on your phone on-the-fly is a great tool, and sometimes that option would benefit me no doubt.  But lets take a new perspective….when you don’t have your phone as your resource, then what?

1. I look up directions ahead of time, and print them off the computer or write them down.

2. I looks at maps, usually using Google, to get a visual idea of an area I am unfamiliar with.

3. If I get lost, I do this crazy thing.  I pull over, and ask someone for directions 😉 haha.

4. If I am getting picked up, which is a common occurrence with a 1-car household, I am in the spot I say I will be at the agreed upon time.  I arrive at that spot early to ensure I am there before my ride.  Last minute coffee or errand, and then just text my ride that I am running late?  Nope.  I plan errands ahead of time.  This keeps me accountable.

5. Where to eat?  Research options ahead of time, or just pull into a new place and try it out.  We have found some great local eateries this way.

By not having a cell phone, I can’t do last minute emails, last minute work stuff, texting while driving, letting someone know I am running late, etc. I forces me to plan ahead and organize.  Because most of the time, those last minute emails or work things can usually wait.  However, sometimes something urgent may come up, and that is when I get resourceful.  If I am home, I call the necessary parties.  Which sounds simple enough, but I think actual phone calls are getting lost to the world of texting and emailing.  If I am out, I find a pay phone or other public phone.  If I have my laptop with me, I find a coffee shop or diner with free wifi and communicate that way.  But I am talking urgent matters here.  When it comes to notifying someone that I am running late, normally I would text them.  But now, I leave early to leave time in case there is traffic.  If I am working late and know for sure I will be late, I let them know ahead of time to expect me later.  And even if I have planned ahead, and this and that, sometimes things happen like an accident on the highway has backed up traffic for example.  Well, at this point, everyone knows I do no have a cell phone, so traffic is often the first assumption if I am late.  I will get there when I get there, and having a cell phone won’t change my arrival time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I know where several local libraries are, as they are a great community resource for computer use, internet use, faxing, copying, free of charge.  They often have a pay phone as well.  I am great with travelling and getting around because I read maps and talk to folks for directions, or suggestions of where to eat or what to do in the area.  As I mentioned, it can definitely be inconvenient not having a cell phone, but all in all, I find I notice the small things in life more, and I enjoy that.  I am a bit of an old soul, and have found that I prefer to do things the way I have mentioned here versus using a cell phone.  It just brings me more pleasure.  If you do have a cell phone, great!  If you don’t, great!

I may get one in the future, who knows.  But right now, I feel like I have found a new way of doing things, and I am not done exploring them yet.