Monday, May 22, 2017

On the Eve of My Thirtieth Birthday

Tomorrow I turn thirty.
Holy smokes.

I can't decide if my thirties are going to be characterized by one-piece bathing suits and bags under my eyes, or if this is going to be my decade of hotness.

I'm really gonna shoot for the latter.

...which just reminded me of Chutes and Ladders, one of my favorite childhood games.

That moment when you land on space 28. Holla!

To my surprise, turning thirty has been a hard pill to swallow. This is the first birthday where I remember feeling trepidation. I'm pretty sad about leaving my twenties behind and panicked that each year seems to be moving faster and faster.

I took a class called "Life Stories" during the spring of my senior year of college. I also took Yoga and Golf that year, which might explain why I give Brian a strange look every time he mentions putting money into our son's 529 account.

I mean, is college really necessary?  You tell me.

(It was Advanced Yoga.)

Our final assignment in Life Stories was to write three essays about where we saw ourselves in ten years. We had to imagine three potential lives that were all different yet reasonable. Where were we living? What did we do after we woke up? Who were we with? What was on our nightstand? That sorta thing.

I think I wrote two really good essays. In one essay, I was single, and thirty, and living in good ole Mebane, North Carolina in a brick ranch house on Bason Road with my dogs and my truck, and working as an English teacher at the local high school.

In the second essay, I was single, and thirty, and living in Honduras and working as an English teacher abroad.

I must have really wanted to be an English teacher. And be single, apparently.

I can't remember my third essay, but knowing myself fairly well, I likely wrote something smart like "I died."

(Remember this was the spring semester of my senior year. Motivation was minimal.)

So those were my ideas of where I thought I would be back when I was a senior in college, but alas, here I am now and I am none of those things.

It was a great learning assignment because I learned I know nothing about what the next ten years will hold, and that even my best guess is a crapshoot.

It wasn't what I predicted, but my twenties were a blast.

As I enter into my thirties, my goals for this upcoming decade are to be more relaxed (a challenge when you have children, but doable) and to be more kind (always doable).

And just a final reminder for myself -

Don't waste good moods and sunny days.

Here's to this next decade. You have a tough act to follow.
So long, twenties.
It's been real. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Story - Part 4 (4th and Final Chapter)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Even after creating the MySpace profile, nothing happened. I stayed busy with school and my job, so I'm not really sure how much time had passed before our next interaction. I think it was Fall of 2008 at the Mill Creek Invitational.

I remember it well. I was standing in the pro-shop talking to my boss Adam. I had probably just finished driving the beer cart that afternoon, and there's always a dinner and after-party for the Invitational on Saturday night. In walk Jason and Steph to the clubhouse, followed by Brian...and some blonde chick!

(I'm not sure "chick" is the most accurate word to describe her, but you know what, I'm working on being a nicer person.)

It was very clear to me that they were a couple. I was introduced to his girlfriend like it was no big deal. (WTF, I created a MySpace profile for you!)

In Brian's defense, it really was no big deal. Nothing had ever happened between us. I had rejected his attempts to go on a date and I never admitted to liking him, so he probably didn't find it awkward at all that he was there with his girlfriend.

(There's a lesson to be learned here. The best way to get someone to like you? Get someone else to like you.)

I had to work the party that evening, serving dinner and drinks to the guests. It was a pretty humbling experience having to serve dinner to Brian and his new girlfriend and also bus the tables after they finished eating.

I wonder if Brian remembers that night.

During our forced moments of interaction that evening, I still remember there being chemistry between us, just like there was the first day we met.

Over the course of the next several months, I didn't see Brian at Mill Creek anymore. It was my senior year at Elon. I would occasionally ask Stephanie about him when the topic would come up. "We're going to Vegas with Strawberry," she told me one day in the pro-shop. "Oh, how's he doing?" I asked.

He was still dating that same chick. She told me her and Jason thought that this girl was "the One" and that he was going to marry her.

I never asked about Strawberry again after that.

In June 2009, I sat down at my computer one night and had a Facebook Friend Request.

Brian Straw.

I accepted.

Relationship Status: Single

Hmmm...I guess that chick wasn't "the One" after all!

Thankfully Facebook has kept documentation of our lives ever since.

I had been babysitting for the Phillips kids that summer, and I remember we had just gotten home from the pool that afternoon when I checked my Facebook and had a message from Brian:

On July 23, 2009, I invited him to the Wooden Nickel in Hillsborough, and as you already know.... 

The rest is history.

If anything, I hope this story goes to show you that God's timing is always perfect. I thought Brian was going to marry someone else not once, but TWICE, during the two years before we went on our official first date. 

I've put up with a lot of crap over these past ten years (and so has Brian!!!), but I am so thankful for my best friend, and thankful that I have this story to tell.

Monday, April 3, 2017

April Goals

Life begins where your comfort zone ends. One of my favorite quotes and my motto for this month.

I have a lot to look forward to for April and a lot that I am nervous about! I get the opportunity to attend my first work conference here in Raleigh for two days this week. I'm excited because it looks like a great lineup of events and speakers, but I'm also a little anxious because I will not know anybody there. I'm leaving the conference early on Thursday to head over to Duke Raleigh to attend a Board of Directors meeting that evening. Busy week. To top it all off, I'm taking my very first Burn Bootcamp class tomorrow morning at 5 AM. Yikes!!

I finally ran out of excuses for postponing Burn Bootcamp. Brian is so sick of hearing about Burn Bootcamp. He told me tonight I have two choices: Either go to Burn Bootcamp or stop talking about Burn Bootcamp.

He's out shooting pool tonight, but I texted him regarding Burn Bootcamp just so he feels right at home.

Goals for the Month:

1) Continue #21earlydays

2) Finish the 4th and final installment of our pre-dating days on the blog

3) Finish reading The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair

4) Plan something for Brian's birthday!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Our Story (the 10 year edition, Part Three)

Picking back up today from where we left off.

Part I
Part II

On Brian's second attempt to hang out with me, I got a random phone call while out shopping with my friend Meg at Alamance Crossing one afternoon.

"Who was that?" she asked.
"It was just my friend, Stephanie, from Mill Creek," I told her. "She and her husband went to Elon a few years ago. She's at West End bar now and invited me to come hang with her and her friend Strawberry.  I think this guy has a crush on me."
"His name is Strawberry?"
"Yeah, I know. Silly. I don't wanna go. Let's just keep shopping."

Part of me was hoping Strawberry would give it up at this point, but another part of me was flattered. If he stopped liking me, surely I would be a little disappointed. I needed to keep him around a little bit longer until I made up my mind on what to do. I needed to reel him in, but then possibly throw him back in the water if I panicked too much.  (I am Woman, Hear me Overthink.)

A couple weeks later, I found myself at home on a Saturday night with my roommate, Leah, and some of her friends. It was fairly rare that I was ever at home on a Saturday night. Maybe nothing was happening at Mill Creek. Meg was probably busy. I remember it was Elon's Homecoming Weekend.

I shared a couple drinks with Leah and her friends in our kitchen, and then they headed out the door to go to Lighthouse.

"Come with us," they begged.
"Eh, what the heck," I shrugged, as I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door behind them.

About halfway across campus, I realized I had made a mistake. Leah and her friends walked ahead of me, talking and laughing. The closer we got to Lighthouse, the clearer the image in my head:

I was about to be standing by myself - alone in the corner - at the crowded campus bar.

(Elon was like a big high school, so this was a true emergency.)

"Hello?" he answered.
"Hey Strawberry. It's Kelly," I said casually, as I continued the trek to the bar. "Where are you?" I asked him, as if this whole phone call was completely normal.
"Uh, I'm at Jason and Steph's house. Guitar Hero III was just released today, so we're playing that. Uh, why? Where are you?"
"Headed to Lighthouse with some friends. Everyone's there tonight, and since it's Homecoming weekend I just figured you might be out."
(A pause. I waited. What the heck was I doing?)
"Oh, okay. We can be there in about twenty minutes."

I probably downed three drinks in that twenty minute span. I needed liquid courage. I remember seeing the white Tahoe pull up to the bar, and Strawberry jumping out to meet me.

A David Gray song was playing in the background.

He came over confidently, and it was a moment that can only be summed up like this:


It's something that can only be summed up like this:

So there we all were. My friends. Strawberry's friends. Hanging out at Lighthouse.

At some point during the evening, Brian was chatting with Leah over near the pool table.

"So, do you like Kelly?" I overheard her asking.
"Yeah," he responded.
"Well, you need to get in line. There's a really long wait list. Every guy in here is crushing on her."

That was the nicest lie anyone has ever told for me.

Later that night, we went a couple more places. Not much happened, but as Strawberry got up to leave, I asked him a question.

"Oh, by the way, are you on Facebook?"
"No" he responded, a little confused. "I have a MySpace." (Brian was 25 years old. Very old and not in the know. He wasn't aware that MySpace had been uncool for about three years at this point.)

The next morning I woke up, thinking about everything that had happened (and not happened) the night before.

I knew what I needed to do, so I did it.

I created a MySpace, desperately hoping that Brian wouldn't realize I had done this just for him.

In hindsight, it had to be obvious.

Kelly Lawrence has 1 friend.