All posts by Kolleen Mueller

Recent graduate adjusting to the real world and writing about the adventures, failures, and new beginnings that come with adulthood.

Life after college-too suburban and mundane

Life after graduation has definitely been less than spectacular. Yes having money again is great and I have an amazing job with amazing people doing exactly what I want to do, but my life beyond that has been less than I had expected. Since I was 8 I was going to move out to California and live my dream in the warm weather and sunshine. After college I would just pick up and move out there, stay on my aunt’s couch until I got a job and got on my feet a little. The opportunities as a marketer seemed endless in California. In reality after college, I was thousands of dollars in debt with no experience and not one company that would take a second look at my résumé with an Ohio address. It was unbelievably hard to get someone to look at my résumé in Cleveland let alone in San Diego or Los Angeles. So my result was moving back in with my parents after graduation with no job and to continue sending out my résumés anywhere I could. My life has done a complete 360 degree turn from how my life was in college. Always surrounded by friends with little money, high ambitions and dreams. Now I feel like I’m living the life of a suburban housewife constantly dreaming I had a different life. My parents keep wanting me to stay at home for a couple of years and pay of my loans and save up, but I’m not ready to give up on a dream.

Talking to a friend who is moving out to Denver soon made me realize I really shouldn’t give up on my dream yet. I’m only 22 years old with a good job and career ahead of me, a somewhat supportive family, and good friends so why not move away? It’s scary thinking of going to a random city not knowing anyone and having to make new friends. Yes, I’ll miss having my family close by, friends I can count on, and the city that I know and love (as much as I’ve hated it this winter). But what I have to remember is the things I will be leaving behind, a few failed relationships and broken hearts, burned bridges with old friends, the cold weather and the mundane suburban life I’ve been living for the past 9 months. I need out and I’m still going to get myself out west. After my one year work anniversary I’m going to start looking for jobs out in California. I’m meant for something more and I’m determined to find it.

Love & Fitzgerald

 

I took this photo about a year ago in Long Boat Key and just found this quote and felt it was very fitting. I often find myself in a relationship or in the process of starting a relationship when it may not be what I need. I believe that society tells us that our ultimate goal is to marry and to reproduce and if you don’t then there must be something wront with you. Since my recent break up with my boyfriend I have decided that my main focus needs to be on myself. I need to be happy with who I am and most importantly happy being alone. As my exes move on and possibly into new relationships it doesn’t mean that I need to be in one as well. I would hope that they are just as content in whatever they are doing as I am at getting to know myself as a single person again. Rushing into another relationship isn’t the answer after a recent break up, but to be able to heal ourselves and be content with ourselves. Afterall, we are the person we will live with the longest.

Christmas time in Cleveland

Just an old post I forgot to publish from December.

 

Every December when my sisters and I were little, we would head Downtown Cleveland with my aunt, uncle and two cousins to Tower City. We did our usual walk through the Higbee building when it was still open as a department store and take pictures with the Higbee Bears outside the ice skating rink on the square. The Renaissance Hotel used to have Christmas trees decorated that lined the hallways and decorations all around what seemed like an enourmous lobby. We would make it in time for the show with the toy soldier and the ballerinas. One of my cousins was petrified of the toy soldier, so we rarely stayed long to visit with him, but just long enough for a picture then it was on to something else. We would all toss a coin into the fountain then make our way up to Sears to see the dancing snowman and his elves. Next would be the talking Christmas tree and then on to a little window shopping. We all knew that going into the stores we weren’t really going to buy anything, but some of the stores that used to be in Tower City were amazing. Our favorites were the Warner Brothers Store, the Disney Store and an old toy store that had every toy you could ever think of. Our day would end with a trip up to the viewing deck where we could look out over the skyline of Cleveland and out over Lake Erie. The Terminal Tower was one of the tallest buildings I had ever been in at that point. To us it was sort of magical to see all the decorations and the different characters all dressed up and everyone excited about the holidays.

We stopped going when my youngest cousin and I turned 10. Our families figured that after that, there wasn’t much of a point in going downtown. Tower City slowly lost majority of their tenants and big name stores closed. As opposed to being somewhere we were always excited to go, it became somewhere you really shouldn’t be anymore. There wasn’t much to see or do as far as the Terminal Tower was concerned. After 9/11 they stopped letting you go up to the viewing deck and there wasn’t much going on otherwise. Our trips downtown had ceased.

This weekend we made the first trip to Tower City during the holidays that we’ve made in over 10 years. Again we went with my aunt, uncle and cousins, but this time brought along my three year old and one year old nephews. Our first stop was at The Arcade which was beaut

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Independent, Confident, and Able to Overcome

When I was young traveling was something exciting to be able to literally wake up somewhere new. My parents did all the driving and carried me everywhere while I slept since I am the youngest of four. There are many trips I remember falling asleep in the back of the car or on the plane and waking up in a new place starting a new vacation in a new place. I grew up in a very fortunate family to have traveled to over 10 different Caribbean islands, the west coast, Canada and almost half the US. I would say as a child I was pretty accustomed to travel. We didn’t always fly, but we did go to a lot of different places. It was always my parents who did the navigating and decision-making and basically everything. The last time I traveled I visited Southern California with my cousins for a week, my favorite place on earth. That was the last time I traveled “semi” on my own, before my anxiety disorder developed.

Sophomore year of college I went through possibly one of the hardest years of my life. The internal struggle that I went through was beyond anything I could ever describe. That’s coming from a few other internal struggles, like a fairly severe case of bulimia in high school. My anxiety disorder had me to the point that I could barely leave my dorm when an attack happened, I couldn’t eat a thing, I dropped almost 30 pounds extremely fast, and my thoughts were ruling my life. I’ve overcome a lot of things when it comes to my anxiety disorder, such as my panic attacks. I can control them better and know what to do when the come on.

My point in talking about travel and my anxiety disorder is that I traveled to Virginia completely by myself this past weekend and to someone else that may be trivial, but to me that’s a huge accomplishment. I flew by myself, got a rental car, stayed in the hotel, worked all alone and even ate all by myself and I was fine. It was exciting again to travel and be on an airplane again and I did it all by myself. I did have a small panic attack on my way back to Ohio, but nothing like it was. Being able to do this trip on my own means more than anyone could probably ever understand because not many could understand what I went through that This trip to me was the first steps to me growing independent again. Growing out of my disorder and into a person again. A young, confident, intelligent, adventurous woman year.

Beautiful Virginia Landscape
Beautiful Virginia Landscape

Once a Bobcat

20131014-203434.jpgThe day that hundreds of Bobcats walked across the makeshift stage in the Convo on the day of graduation was the moment we started counting down to this weekend. Last May lots of Bobcats became alumni and homecoming weekend was what we had to look forward to now. For lots of universities homecoming is all about greek life and the reuniting of brothers and sisters, but Ohio University is different. Everyone comes back for homecoming. Lots of my friends who moved out of state after graduation instantly booked their first vacation to come home to Athens for this magestic weekend. From Boston to San Fransico and Washington D.C. to Chicago friends flew in to make sure they wouldn’t miss it. There isn’t really a way to explain how magical homecoming weekend is and to be able to experience it as an alumni made it so much better. I hadn’t been back to Athens since graduation so by the time I was able to leave work I was all but running for the door to hit the road. Homecoming literally is like Christmas morning and every student and alumni has patiently waited for Santa’s arrival all year long.

The moment I got to Athens my old roommates and I immediately left for the bars to begin our 48 hour of sleep deprivation, endless reminiscing, good friends and cheap drinks. Everywhere I turned I saw someone I knew and every person was just as thrilled to see me as I was to see them. All night out at the bars and one hour of sleep Friday night led to an early morning at the bar and a long day of drinking, bar hopping and friends. There really is no place like Athens on this planet. I’m sure every person argues that their school is the absolute best and they are much better than we are, but Bobcats are caring, friendly, compasstionate, and hard working people. Every one of my friends has worked hard to get where they are today and we take times like this past weekend to revel in that and relax. After a long week in the office it was great to say the usual Bobcat phrase of “work hard, play harder” and that’s exactly what we did.

I’m still sort of surprised I was able to stay up as late as I did and close out the bars to end yet another glorious homecoming, but I was able to take a moment and look back at the four years I spent at this university and be so proud of the place I was educated and who It has made me become. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the years that I spent there. The friends that I made are some of my truest friends I have ever had and will be my lifelong friends and have made such a big impact on my life.  That university is one of the greatest things that has happened to me and I am beyond grateful for it and for the people who have become my good friends. There are so many more things I could say to show how proud I am to have graduated from Ohio University and to be able to spend a weekend back in Athens like homecoming, but nothing sums it up more than I am proud to be a Bobcat.

Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat.

Reflection.

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I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. Reflecting on my past, reflecting on my current life and questioning what the future might hold for me. For the past four summers I kept saying this is my last summer before I have to be a real adult. Each summer throughout college I said that exact phrase to my parents wanting me to get a job or buckle down on school work. So, today I took about a half hour on what may be one of the last nice nights of the summer of 2013 to drive around my town and see my past. From the beach to the high school to my junior high and childhood playgrounds I just drove by and thought if the memories. I truly am a real adult now and I have to think back on the things I did and how I would have done them differently and how I could have changed things. Nonetheless the past is in the past and there is no way to change the way things were.

To say I am feeling nostalgic tonight is an understatement. The simplicity of life that we all take for granted as young kids and teens is something I wish I knew. There are still things I wish I could take back and those things will continue to happen, but I wish I knew how little of an impact that would make on most peoples lives. I will still have regrets, as will everyone, and those who don’t have not lived. We all make mistakes and those people who can be around you through your mistakes and the small or sometimes large blunders are your true friends. I wonder about the friends that I’ve made to know if they are the true friends. I can say with out a doubt I have at least one, but are all the others true friends or just acquaints? One of the many questions I asked myself tonight.

Not only was I reminiscing, but I was thinking on the future as well. I know that as far as most post college grads are concerned I’m pretty successful. I have a job in my field that I love, I don’t have very much debt, I’m about to purchase my second car, and I have a good amount of money saved up. But, I don’t feel like this is the next chapter for me. I can’t help, but feel like this is maybe still the same chapter. I just need to find out what it is that’s going to be written in my next chapter. What is the next thing in my life that will be new and exciting that makes my life unique and worth living to the fullest. Half of me says I need to start looking out of state and the other half couldn’t imagine leaving my family. I just need to learn to be happy again and it’s finding that place again. My bridge from the pure ecstasy of college to the boring mundane life back in the suburbs with my parents is a hard one to cross when I just want to go running back to the other side. One leg at a time I need to learn to stand on the other side. Not necessarily in the suburbs with my parents because it’s not who I am, but as an adult who is successful and able to be independent and proud of what I’ve accomplished and who I am.

So as I watched the sun sink down on my suburban beach town, I said goodbye to my childhood and hello to a life of adulthood and all the burdens and joys it may bring.

Family awkwardness

Family reunions. Possibly one of the more awkward things we have to endure as a family obligation. People all sitting around with their respective families not really talking to the people they sort of know, have heard the occasional bizarre story about, but feel lie you have some need to talk to them since you’re related. The only ones not sensing the awkwardness or the divisions being the children. The kids all play together not knowing any odd stories or the relation they have to one another, but just as someone to play with.

Today we had my maternal grandfather’s family reunion consisting of my grandpas 3 siblings and their family as well as all included kin. My cousins and I sat at our respective table with our parents as did my Grandpas’s sibling’s families. Sort of has the feeling of a cliquey high school lunch room. We all sat around asking who is this, who do they belong to and hearing the latest stories of what everyone has been doing or what mess have they gotten themselves into lately. Naturally, my family is the self-proclaimed “normal” family. The stories of my mom’s cousins an their kids makes our lives seem dull and mundane. Half of them having injuries, divorces, illnesses, and post-divorce, mid-life children with the woman across the neighboring field when their oldest child could be the parent. My family less than interesting in that way. No one has had a child out of wedlock, dropped/failed out of college, crashed a car/plane, divorced…nada.

All of this makes me think though, do the other families sit around and think the same? Do they say those people are just weird thank goodness for my normal family. Regardless of the stories we’ve heard we are family and blood is stronger than any other tie. We all care about each other and each others well being. By the end of the reunion we have integrated families and speak all as one. Complimenting those on the delicious food they may have brought, new babies, and new marriages. The last question on my mind being, if we all had the innocence of a child not caring who the other was and all conversed together would the awkwardness recede?

Family is always there for you, always has your best interest at heart, and may be the most important factor in some people’s lives. I wonder when the awkwardness will set in with my cousins as we all continue to grow and grow apart our lives change, as they should, and will our future kin stare at each other thinking,

I know I know you, but haven’t seen you in years so I’ll just pretend I don’t see you..

Honestly I hope this never sets in and my family ties only grow stronger. My cousins re some of my best friends and I couldn’t possibly think something like this would happen. Now we will see what I saying 20 years from now…