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This all began when I started to write my eulogy...
That's a really odd sentence to type. Earlier this summer, a friend was telling me how he used to have his college students in his class write their own eulogy as a way to reflect upon their life. After talking about that for a while, I thought that it would be such an interesting thing to do for myself for the blog.
I began writing it a week ago & it brought me back to how different the life I thought I wanted when I was 15 was compared to the life I have & want now that I'm 29. So I figured- let me start here and work my way up.
When I was 15...
...I was living so much in my own world. I was going to school, had just quit softball- a sport I played for so many years, danced in our high schools dance company instead, was working 2 jobs busing tables & babysitting whenever I could. I managed to have a great group of friends & we got into our fair share of very innocent shenanigans. I was the kid being raised by a village after my parents got divorced & my father left, with a very active imagination.
Had you asked me at 15 where I'd be when I was 29, my current age, I'd tell you that I would have a house, a husband and probably 2 kids with more on the way. I used to say I wanted a whole mess of kids. I dreamed of being an architect who was able to balance it all. I would have met my husband when I was in college & would have moved in together after graduation where we would have purchased that adorable starter home before we were 25. Everything would have fallen right into place -I had wanted it all to be very conventional.
This was probably because the conventional & very normal life I had as a very young kid had only lasted so long. I was in elementary school when my parents began fighting and in middle school when they finally got divorced. I had been surrounded by wonderful families- and watched as all of my friends (except for one) enjoyed their seemingly "normal", non divorced kid life.
I had so badly wanted their "normal". So much so that the life I thought I wanted for myself was filled with everything people expect you to want & have. You graduate high school, go to a good college, get a job, get a husband, get a house, have those kids, live happily ever after in your own version of the chaos. The picture of future Kristina was filled with what I thought everybody else's family had.
But eventually that changed...
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2...
It is now tradition to take a sweet adventure every year.
It all began in 2016 when the Ice Cream Museum came into town. The next year we went to a chocolate museum and when Candytopia came about- we bought tickets immediately! So here's what we thought!
For our review on the Ice Cream & Chocolate museums, click here!
If you like sweet treats, bright colors & confetti- then Candytopia is a place you need to visit. It all begins a little weird- in a dark room with an actor running around yelling things. Although, you can't fully understand what he's saying so I honestly had no idea what was going on. But after a few minutes you enter a new room with bright colors, loud music and people running around everywhere!
Now, when I re-read my pros & cons for the ice cream museum, the one con I had revolved around it being a guided tour. Interestingly enough, having Candytopia not be a guided tour was probably one thing I didn't like. Here's why.
At the Ice Cream Museum, your groups that you were with were small- maybe 10 people or so. So even though you only spent a certain chunk of time in every room, it was a small enough group that you got to see & explore every bit of that area. At Candytopia- the group you were with was a MUCH larger group and you can explore at your own leisure. With so many people & kids running around, you couldn't always necessarily do what you wanted to do or look at something as long as you'd like. We ended up staying in Candytopia for the same amount of the Ice Cream Museum so that all evened out.
When they finally open the doors to Candytopia, you're just thrown into all the rainbows, confetti & candy you can imagine! There's artwork made of candy, statues made of candy, trees made of candy- pretty much everything was made of candy!
You were free to roam about each room & each room had a different theme which made it super fun! One room was filled with candy portraits, another took you under the sea & another let you play with unicorns and confetti. They had great photo opportunities & their staff were all super nice while taking pictures!
And yes- there was even candy to eat! Each room had a chest of candy for you to snack on! Between taffy, tootsie pops, pixie sticks, air heads, candy bracelets & more- your sweet tooth was happy!
To wrap up the day, we entered the marshmallow pool! No- they are not real! I made the mistake of jumping into it at one side while my friends were on the opposite side because it required a lot of leg work to get through those marshmallows! You only had 5 minutes in the pool (this was the only time restricted piece of the exhibit) so you had to make it count! We got a lot of fun pictures & boomerangs so we were very happy!
I would recommend this if you can snag a ticket! It's very kid friendly & there were a ton of kids there. We had a great time exploring and playing with confetti! It was a fun thing to be a part of! So if it makes it's way to your town- go have fun!
How does it rank?
Now that we've done a few sweet adventures, it's time to rank them from our favorite to not so favorite! We're already talking about what our next adventure is going to be!
1. Ice Cream Museum (it can't be beat!)
3. Chocolate Museum
I'm nobody's teenage daughter, but I still have some rules...
It probably seems like I might have earned the title of your forever single friend- but that's probably, hopefully only half true. I've become really good at being on my own & I have found that I am pretty picky. But to me- that's a good thing. I don't want to waste my time or waste anybody else's time either. But if you're looking to snag a date or get to know me- these are some of my unwritten 'rules'- until now!
1. Must love dogs (and giraffes, and bears, and elephants and hermit crabs and well ok- most animals)
No- we're not going back in time to an early 2000's movie. But if you know me- even a little- you've probably picked up that I'm a massive animal lover. Since I could remember, I would rescue any critter that was hanging out inside. Give me spiders, caterpillars, centipedes, bees and just about everything in between- I'd rescue them. I'll stomp on your mosquitoes or ticks- but really that's the extent of it. One of my dreams in this life is to raise a baby bear named Todd. I have major puppy senses & will stop any conversation to acknowledge a dog. I mean- can you even trust somebody who doesn't love dogs? My future guy- wherever you are-if you don't love dogs, then I don't know if I can love you. You don't have to want to save all the critters or raise a baby bear- but loving dogs, that's a must.
2. Gotta be impartial to the ink
This one might sound a little weird-and maybe it's all in my head- I'll let you decide. Currently- I only have 5 tattoos, soon to be 6. I'm sure that over the years- I'll gain that double digit status. I'm not asking for my guy to have tattoos or even to love tattoos- but I need somebody who doesn't despise them or is appalled by them. Why? If you're appalled by something- are you going to love looking at it? Most of my tattoos are covered on a daily basis by clothes- but the minute I take them off, SURPRISE! I don't want somebody to not fully love what they see. I'm sure a quality guy wouldn't let this be an issue- but it'll be in the back of my head.
3. Understands that sharing is caring- but not when it comes to Nutella
Yes- you read that right. I am 29 years old and I won't share my Nutella. If you know me in the slightest- you know not mess with that. This is a simple one- I'll share pretty much anything, even my food if I really like you. But my Nutella is off limits.
3.5. Must understand sarcasm
4. Need to have those goals & ambitions
I think this is something that for so many people is important. I'm such a dreamer and I've become really active in trying to accomplish my dreams. I'm losing a lot of that fear that includes the whole "what if I fail" questions. I need somebody who can not only support my goals & ambitions- but somebody who has their own. I want somebody who is challenging themselves & who isn't always afraid to just go for it & see what happens. With that comes inspiration & I want to feel inspired by my guy. I want to support somebody, help them achieve their wildest dreams & stand by them no matter what the outcome is. If you have a list of goals & dreams- bring it on!
5. Accepts that I need to be left alone 40%(ish) of the time
Now I always get push back on this one & people always tell me that number should be lower. Here's the thing; I'm very independent. I have been for a very long time. And I can't do needy. I get bothered when people are up in my business 24/7. I have always needed my space & my alone time. That time might be spent in front of my sewing machine or watching TV or with a good book- but regardless, I need it. I need it.
I need it. My guy has to be ok with the fact that I am going to have things going on in my life that maybe he's not totally involved in or that I'm going to need my alone time. I want him to have the same things. I want us to grow on our own & together. I need somebody who can respect and accept that I'm not the kind of girl who is going to ask permission to do something or to make plans. I'm going to keep doing my thing both with you & on my own (it's really a nice combo). I need somebody who is there for me always - and for me, being there for me sometimes means not being there at all.
6. Loves kids, but loves giving them back
Here's the thing- I love kids! But I love giving them back to their parents even more. For me, I don't picture kids in my future- it is what it is. I'm going to do a whole separate post about this life choice because I get a lot of kickback. But, I don't want to waste somebody's time if they want kids. I'm sure I'd make a solid mom- but I make a great freakin' aunt. Hopefully my guy has high hopes of being the best uncle ever too & together we can be the best duo for all our nieces & nephews.
7. Ready to make all the memories
I've written about this before about how a few years ago- my sister & I chose memories over things. Most of my family & even a lot of my friends have followed in these footsteps. Instead of giving gifts, we're going to concerts, plays, taking classes, just getting out there & exploring! I'm not saying that I want to do this all day every day- but I want to make memories. I want to explore , try new things, see shows & make all the memories I can. So my guy- I hope you're ready to have some fun!
8. Accept the challenge that I have high walls
I'm a tough cookie & the walls that I have built have been standing strong since I was a kid. I have built them so high & have had them for so long that it is so ridiculously hard for me to let somebody take them down brick by brick. I take a long time to really open up to people & let them in. I'm cautious with who I choose to know those sides of me & I have been tremendously lucky that so many people love me for all my different sides. My guy needs patience to get to know me. He needs to take it slow & to not get frustrated that it can be difficult to get to my core. Don't forget to throw in a little bit (ok maybe a lot) of stubbornness on my end for an extra challenge too. I open up when I see that somebody really does want to get to know me & that I can trust them. I won't often take down the walls myself- but I'll let somebody take a brick down & start to make a path to climb over. There's a lot to me, to my past & to my stories. I am much more than you might think I am but I promise- I'm worth the work if you have it in you.
And that's it!
I don't think that any of these listed above are so ridiculous or outrageous. I think they're honest & they're real. If I'm going to be with somebody, I want it to be a quality relationship that has the ability & potential to grow into something spectacular. I'm not a serial dater & I am in no rush to be in a relationship most days. I've always joked that if I ever did get married- that it would happen when I'm 56. So really, I have time! Here's to finding my guy- wherever he may be! And if he shows up with a puppy & Nutella- he'll get automatic bonus points!
I'm not a New Years Resolution person.
I instead track my years each August for my birthday. I like to set goals and sometimes choose a theme of the year and let it all unfold.
Last year, the theme was to step outside of my comfort zone & try something massive. Absolutely none of my plans worked out how I had envisioned. Not a single one. But so much more resulted in the unraveling of each choice I made. I was pushed to my ultimate limits & I came through it all. I spent my 28th year challenging myself & dealing with any consequence. I refused to run from hard choices.
But for 29, I realized that I need to focus more on myself. Sounds pretty corny and quite cliche- don't worry, I know. Just about everything I chose to do during 28 was done without taking much consideration of myself & my well being.
I came out stronger but I need 29 to be a little gentler on my soul.
I had a lot of people asking me how I was feeling turning 29. I'm not easily bothered, saddened or angered with the change in age- it doesn't phase me all too much. When I responded with that, I was often met with confused responses & people reminding me that it's the last year of my 20's. Apparently that means I should be going wild & living on the edge. Do things change dramatically in our 30's?
Instead- I'm going to use 29 as a stepping stone year for my 30th birthday goals. For my 30th, have pre-decided that I will start a podcast. I don't have much of an idea of what it'll be about or who I will do this with- I just know I feel a strong draw to it. So for 29, as I form the ideas of this podcast to be, I am challenging myself to come here & blog about anything. I want to see what interesting things come out of my head, I want to see what you all respond to & see if I can really accomplish the goal of having a podcast.
But- here I am, writing a post to tell you all about it.
A friend recently reminded me that I'm not completely what people think that I am, that I'm full of surprises. Most people see me as super bubbly & ultra nice- which I am, don't get me wrong. But I also am tattooed, I gravitate toward all things vulgar & I have no desire to follow many conventional roads. The biggest shock being my lack of desire to get married or to have kids. I keep proving that I am not what people expect me to be.
Just like the person I am; being an Ant & a 13%er, is not what I expected. I have listened to over 380 episodes of TESD and in that time I have found some sort of sanctuary; a world outside of my daily life for me to discover and be a part of. The guys- Bry, Walt & Q- talk about their lives, their journey, their wild adventures and everything in between. We're let into a piece of their world and their friendships in a way unlike any other.
Their conversations can hit close to home or open your eyes to a new world. From discussing anything from depression, relationships, current news, playing games & so much more- it's seriously never a dull moment. I mean, this is where I learned that horse is opposite of car. I often will finish a new episode already waiting for the next week to be released. There's a weird connection to the guys & this world that they have created.
More than that, the world that they have built is filled with others who feel the same as I do- that this podcast is more than just a podcast. For me, being an active part of the anthill is still new. But my Twitter is built mainly on fellow ants- none of which I have actually met. The only group notifications I allow on Facebook are from a private group filled with ants from all over the world.
After all this time- it truly still amazes me the type of community that has been built & shared by so many people from so many backgrounds from all over the world. There is such an overwhelming amount of support & love for each other. We have this common ground of TESD- and in some cases- that might be our only common ground. Yet, that doesn't change the fact that we're all a part of something bigger.
Now the anthill isn't filled with perfect people, with perfect lives who have perfect ideals. It's filled with a group of people who have a common thread & looking for a community. It's filled with humor, randomness, encouragement and everything you're looking for. It makes listening to a weekly podcast so much more than just a weekly podcast.
As I'm developing relationships in this world & getting more immersed, I love seeing how other ants have formed friendships. I truly look forward to having that more & more as time goes on because I know & I can see the positive effects it has on people.
And that's why a podcast.
I'm not saying that my hypothetical podcast will create a comparable world or that I anticipate such a strong allegiance. But I see what TESD has done for others or for myself & if I can bring a fraction of that to somebody- well then that would be pretty amazing.
I'm learning more & more about how sharing our experiences with others is beyond helpful. I've always been pretty well guarded & have struggled sharing my stories with just anybody. But I've been doing it, slowly. Opening up just might be a great start to a new decade next year- who knows?
So here's to the next year of finding what the next chapter is & what I'm capable of.
My name is Kristina and I'm the founder of Love Struck. Read about how Love Struck came to be, see how I make it happen or just read a random thought I just might have! Anything can happen at our blog & I wouldn't have it any other way! It's time to get Love Struck, and what better way to start than right here!