Category Archives: life

We Move In Infinite Space

Well, I looked out of my window this morning
And I saw the strangest thing
Oh, everyone was walking on water and dancing in the rain

While this blog is partially a way for me to keep you interested people up to date, it’s also definitely a way for me to keep track of myself.

Since I live in a solid state of transience, I get caught up in life and everything consistently feels like a mess with intermittent periods of “Ok… this is actually ok.”

Austin Kleon (I know, right?!) commented on my very first post and said this:

I’m flattered! Good luck on your blogging quest — I was your age when I started blogging, and it was just a place for me to figure stuff out and find myself. Stick with it.

Goddamn. That became the truest truth of all time, in terms of what my own blog became.

Without it, I wouldn’t be able to refer back to posts like this and this and reacquaint myself with the insight I stumbled upon previously.

Because honestly, I never remember shit about anything. Ask Desi. I would have forgotten basically every amazing/hilarious/embarrassing thing we ever did if she wasn’t around to remind me.

And since she can’t remind me about my personal thoughts/feelings/epiphanies, I’m happy that I take the time to sit down and crank this stuff out so that it can be saved for posterity. Because then those moments when I’m like “Good God, what the hell is going on?” are a little less traumatic.

I feel like I was born with equivocal wings but for some reason I’m always trying to make everything concrete/stable and have plans and long-term goals and just create a dependable sense of “future” for myself like most other people seem to have. But every time I try, it freaks me the fuck out. So, then I realize that I have to just let go and live because that’s the state in which I’m content. But for some reason, I forget about the resolve that I acquired and get freaked out again.

This blog kind of cuts that process down to something that requires minimal effort. Because I remember vaguely that I’ve already come to conclusions about a lot of this. So, I just re-read it, re-establish that baseline, and continue on with enough time/energy to come up with new insights because the building blocks are there. Maybe it’s two steps forward and one step back… but, whatever. I’ll take it.

Did I post about Letters to a Young Poet, yet? I’m thinking I mentioned it but didn’t comment as extensively as I wanted to. So, here’s a relevant quote:

People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have no absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have no realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

A reference to physics and the solar system during a discussion of self-awareness and fate? YES, PLEASE. I make science analogies all the time. Sometimes I feel like I can really only think in terms of science. My sophomore year of college was a mess of biology analogies for love situations. Rainer Maria Rilke is my homeboy.

Texas is totally fucking with my head. But I don’t have to make the Texas vs. Louisiana decision until like November, so why worry? Also, deep down in my heart, I know I’ll end up in Louisiana because it’s been the driving force of my life for so long. I think I make alternate plans because I’m afraid of the possibility of never actually making it to New Orleans. And/or because I’m afraid that it won’t actually be everything I’ve thought it will be.

Maybe I’m just over-thinking this. All of this.

The shitty thing about my brain is that every day I just want to turn it off. But I have actually turned it off with Adderall and I hated every single second of it.

Some days I’m so frustrated by the fact that my thoughts are incessantly all over the place. Like so frustrated that I could cry. But I’m so used to being like this that when it’s different, I don’t feel like myself. And I honestly think it’s better to be frustrated with yourself than to not feel like yourself.

Although, I really wish I could be studying for today’s OB simulation instead of writing this blog… Why can’t they make PRN medication for this?

I’ve seriously been sitting at a coffee shop since 5:48 and it’s now 8:01. And this simulation is at 11:00. But I’ve been more interested in watching and analyzing the flux of people and messing around on the internet and writing this blog than doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Coffee shops in the morning are weird. There’s a certain type of person that comes in at 6:00 and a certain type of person that comes in at 7:00 and a certain type of person that comes in at 8:00. It’s so strange. And I never knew this until today… So now I’m blown away by the discovery and can’t focus.

I’m so screwed.

I need Drew to be here so he can hold my face with his hands, look at me straight in the eyes, and say “It’s time to pull yourself together, focus, and get shit done.”

In non-related news, here’s some Jeremy Messersmith just because it’s Wednesday and you probably need it. I sure as hell do.

1st & Goal

I’m straight up addicted to football.

And I never realized this until the relocation because football in Pittsburgh is a 24/7/365 sort of thing.

Even if it’s the offseason, people in Pittsburgh are still incessantly talking about it so it kind of never goes away.

In Alabama, it goes away.

Being in State College and talking about the Steelers with people who know shit about the Steelers has totally thrown off my “survive until the end of August” game plan.

In semi-related news, going a whole summer without at least one night at PNC Park is going to be the death of me.

I’m probably beating a dead horse with these posts at this point.

This is the theme of nearly all of them: I love Alabama, I miss Pittsburgh, I love Pittsburgh, I miss Pittsburgh sports, Alabama is definitely different from Pittsburgh, I’m happy with my life, I’m unhappy with my life, and/or what the hell am I doing with my life…

It’s For The Best You Didn’t Listen

Considering that the only thing I have to do this weekend, school-wise, is to study for a test (as opposed to the usual agenda of study for a test and write a 17 page research paper and finish up 500 other things), this Sunday is more like a regular Sunday instead of an “Oh goodness, I want to die right now” Sunday.

As such, here’s a Sunday song for y’all.

Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw
Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they’d just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for
Oh, what do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore

This is it, boys, this is war
What are we waiting for?
Why don’t we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype
Save that for the black and white
I try twice as hard and I’m half as liked, but here they come again to jack my style

And that’s alright
I found a martyr in my bed tonight
She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
Oh, who am I? Oh, who am I?

Well, some nights, I wish that this all would end
‘Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again
Some nights, I always win, I always win

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for
Oh, what do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know

So this is it? I sold my soul for this?
Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?

No. When I see stars, when I see, when I see stars, that’s all they are
When I hear songs, they sound like this one, so come on
Oh, come on. Oh, come on. Oh, come on.

Well, this is it guys, that is all
Five minutes in and I’m bored again
Ten years of this, I’m not sure if anybody understands
This one is not for the folks at home
Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she call “love”
But when I look into my nephew’s eyes…
Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from
Some terrible lies

The other night, you wouldn’t believe the dream I just had about you and me
I called you up, but we’d both agree
It’s for the best you didn’t listen
It’s for the best we get our distance
It’s for the best you didn’t listen
It’s for the best we get our distance

Put on your sunglasses, get in your car, hit the interstate, and turn it up.

Worst To First

This is the greatest 6 minutes currently on YouTube.

It perfectly captures one of the most incredible stories in the history of all sports.

It made me want to jump up and down on my couch with my Terrible Towel.

And that shot at 2:14 is BEAUTIFUL.

Also, I never heard the Ave Maria part before.

And at 5:24, when the guy says, “I think it made Pittsburghers proud to be Pittsburghers,” my eyes welled up.

Now I’m homesick as fuck. For real. This is like a Mary level of homesickness.

I just wanna watch some KDKA before bed.

The wedding is 33 days away. And I cannot wait to come flying through the tunnel and see the city pop out in front of me. And spend the whole weekend downtown surrounded by lifelong yinzers.

The “32 or pregnant” thing still stands.

I cannot possibly settle down in any other place. My love for everything that comes with being a Pittsburgh resident overrides anything else that may be attractive about living in another place. I don’t even care that it just snowed.

It is the only place that’s ever felt like HOME.

And I will forever be proud of my ferocious love for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates.

I don’t care that this is actually the most annoying song on the entire planet. It makes my chest hurt from homesicky happiness. And given any opportunity to do so, I will forever be singing it at the top of my lungs with every other Pittsburgher around me.

And the most amazing feeling in the world is that moment when you’re surrounded by people in Steelers gear after a critical touchdown has been scored and everyone is whipping their Terrible Towel around like they never have before. NOTHING can beat that. Absolutely nothing.

To everyone else, we seem crazy. So go ahead and judge us. But I will unashamedly uphold the time-honored traditions of Steeler Nation. It’s been part of my soul since birth.

Let me remind you… It’s not crazy. It’s sports.

Post update: text conversation with my dad

Dad: I don’t do Facebook. Can you email me the URL for the Franco YouTube?
Me: Haha yeah. How do you know about it if you don’t have Facebook?
Dad: Word is passing around the family.

Hahahaha. That is so my family. If you want to know why I am the way I am, look to this as insight into what it’s like to be born into a family of Steelers fans.

My Roaring Twenties

I love NPR.

This article explains so much about myself and the people I know. I kinda wanna read the book now. Gotta find the time to do that first, though.

2 years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I was wasting my time and potential at a job that I hated.

1 year ago, I was becoming increasingly frustrated in my relationship with a guy who absolutely did not have his twenties figured out at all (even though he’s 2.5 years older than me) and always put me at #837 on his priority list.

6 months ago, I was spending more money each month on alcohol and fun times than I was on anything else in my budget (other than rent).

I can honestly say that today I feel like I finally have my shit together… based on what healthy twenty year olds are generally striving for (according to that article/book).

I know what I want to do, who I want to be, and who I want to be with. And making choices that fail to meet those criteria is now unacceptable to me.

The first half of my twenties were invaluable in terms of learning experiences so I don’t want to think of them as disastrous. Without those years, I wouldn’t be here with my feet solidly planted on the ground. Mistakes were made that I’m only now beginning to realize were mistakes. But at least I’m headed in the right direction. And I’m absolutely going to make more mistakes before I’m 30 because that’s just life. But it’s good to realize that I’ve at least learned something about a few things and feel prepared for what’s next.

I think it’s absolutely true that you change the most during your twenties. Before then, everything is theoretical. Living, like nursing, has a steep learning curve. You can know all the theory inside and out but when you actually get your hands on the stuff and have to do it, it’s a whole new ball game. You realize that, in reality, you’re back at square one in terms of knowing what’s going on. And only when you actually begin doing it for real are you able to develop some sort of competency.

The beginning is a rush of stress and new lessons every day. And for that reason, you do change a lot. You find out that what you’ve been or known or done up to that point does not apply to the reality of living real life in the real world. But eventually you gain experience and hit your stride and things fall into place the way they’re supposed to. Essentially, you don’t know what fits you best until you try several things on. Very few people ever get it right the first time. Having theories about real life and living real life are two very different things.

Everyone has different ways they want to live and things they want to accomplish. So I think it’s unfair for outsiders to compare two people in their twenties based on “milestones.” What I like about this article/book is that it seems to be more focused on anxiety levels of twenty-somethings and not necessarily whether they’re able to maintain a serious relationship or other things twenty-somethings are supposed to become adept at.

If you’re unhappy, then yes, your inability to maintain a serious relationship is something that should be explored.

But if you are happy with every aspect of your life (and aren’t actually unhappy while telling yourself you are happy), then who cares if you don’t ever have a long-term significant other or don’t work your way up in the company or any other “goal” of adulthood.

I think the twenties are where you figure out what you want in life and when you want it. As long as you’re happy with that, then you’re probably a healthy twenty-something.

In terms of my “milestones,” I’m a little behind. But I feel like I’m ahead of a lot of people because I’m on the path to reaching them. It seems like a lot of other people are unhappily trying to fulfill theirs through the incorrect means and just for the sake of doing what they’re supposed to do as a young adult.

I think I prematurely hit my quarter-life crisis because I don’t have that sense of feeling lost or hopeless or anxious anymore and I’m not even close to being done with my twenties. I came to terms with what was making me unhappy and what I was worried about and dealt with it. Everything was wrong, so I fixed it. Granted, I’m certainly not at the point I want to be yet. But my plan for how to get there has yet to fail so I don’t feel distressed anymore.

As long as you’re happily working toward something, I don’t think you’re in the crisis phase anymore.

Also, as I indicated before, that “something” is different for everyone.

In term of my QLC, I guess it’s possible that this is just the calm before the storm and the real crisis hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully that’s not the case. Really though… there’s no point in worrying about the “what ifs” because overly planning for the future can cause as much anxiety as not planning for the future at all.

And finally, once you “get your shit together” (i.e. figure out what you want and start making it happen), that doesn’t mean everything has to get serious all of a sudden. I think that was my biggest hurdle. I entered my twenties with the idea that this was my last chance to have fun so I was gonna have as much fun as possible and nothing else really mattered. But that’s kind of an empty life, honestly. Once I got my goals back on track, I actually had more fun having less fun. The time I was out having fun was better appreciated and seemed more fun, I guess.

When I graduate from nursing school, I’m going right back to spending lovely drunken nights with my friends because I have no responsibilities for anything other than myself. But the reason it’s going to be enjoyable is because there are so many other things in my life that make me happy as well. “Having fun and living it up while you can” is not a real fulfilling goal. You always feel some kind of emptiness when that’s your sole priority. It’s good to be fulfilled in other ways. When “fun” is your defining activity, it ceases to be fun. It’s so transient. I guess that’s why.

When I’m 80, I’m going to think back to the 2007-2017 decade and know that it was the most ridiculous 10 years of my life for several reasons, I think. Who knows though. I’m kind of prone to ridiculousness. Although, I think that if it continues into my 30s, it’s going to be like “spontaneously moved to Peru and then traveled throughout the rest of the world because I had no reason not to” ridiculous. And that’s a good thing.

Here’s some semi-related life insight from Sabrina:

Strength is not about what you have, it’s about what you give.

Die Then Grow

1) Clinical is pretty damn awesome. Even though it’s lots of sleep deprivation (like yesterday I had a clinical day then 10 hours of clinical paperwork to do afterwards then had to be back at the hospital at 6:30 this morning), I’m calmer and happier than I’ve been in years.

2) Here’s a dose of the Avett Brothers since I haven’t given you one in awhile:

So, I watched as those who ask for love, demanding some respect
Became the last in line to have what they come to expect
As what nobody taught them that they so rightly deserve
And the hums of their misfortune peaked, the hardest lesson learned

3) “I’m still young! But I’m not that young.”

This guy pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to describing what it’s like to be 24.

I don’t want to get married. But I can see myself settling down in a few years if I met the right girl.

Used to drink heavily, now it’s a rare occurrence

Doesn’t matter if i stumble, I’m on my parents insurance

Gotta hit the gym ’cause I’m losing my agility

No joke: last summer there was a week where my tailbone hurt for no reason. And I mentioned it to my mom. Her response, verbatim, was:

Well, you’re 24. You’re getting to that age where you start to have aches and pains for no reason.

WHAT?! It was a rude awakening. I kind of felt like those things didn’t happen until you’re 40. And so, on that day, I think I accepted mortality. Feelings of invincibility have long since passed.

4) For the record… I do, in fact like Greg and Donny better than Pittsburgh Dad. But it’s way old news and there are no new episodes. So, why would I blog about it? Hmm? And I’m not sure why people always have to make things a competition between two preferences when there’s nothing wrong with liking both. Also, Pittsburgh Dad is the funniest thing on Twitter.

5) Speaking of the Pens… I couldn’t watch the game due to clinical stuff. But I checked the score when it was over. WHAT HAPPENED?! 10 goals is outrageous. I fell on the floor from happiness and definitely need to see this game at some point in my life.

6) I need a house husband. Duties of a house husband:
– Make me breakfast, pack my lunch, and cook dinner
– Clean the house, run errands, and pay bills
– Record Pens games so I can watch them when I have time
– Work out every day and stay hot
– Give me massages when my upper back hurts from stress

7) Today I learned about cornbread dressing and other differences between Thanksgiving in the south and the one I’ve always known. Food is just better here. In pretty much every way. I mean, baked mac n cheese instead of steamed vegetables?! I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS. Obviously don’t have enough days off to go home but I’m not sad about it at all anymore.

Lord Have Mercy

Sunday was essentially everything I’ve ever wanted a Sunday to be. It was exactly how life should be lived.

Rachel’s mom was wearing a shirt that said, “Alabama girls know that sometimes all you can say is ‘Lord have mercy!'” I love southern moms.

For a good portion of the day, we just sat on their pier and fished but didn’t catch anything because it was the middle of the day. But it was still a damn good time. We were drinking a little too. A mix of quality beer and cheap beer. Like Blue Moon followed by Busch Light (which I’d never had before in my life) followed by Sweetwater 420 followed by PBR. It was 89 degrees and sunny. Love.

Then we ate. Every backyard BBQ I go to down here is amazing. The food is better than any BBQ place you can go to up north. We had magically delicious wings, ribs, and burgers. And the best baked beans I’ve ever had in my life. And hushpuppies and fried okra. And a ton of other stuff but those were the highlights. Plus, it’s just nice to sit at a big table full of people and feel happy to be alive.

As far as I can tell, all southern dads have their own “secret BBQ recipe” that they’re super proud of. It’s so funny. But damn, that pride is totally justified. You don’t know how good food can be until you move to Alabama.

Then we went blackberry picking. The goal was to get enough for a cobbler. Unfortunately, we didn’t. But the experience was still a dream come true.

I stepped on the edge of a fire ant colony by accident and got stung on my foot and ankle couple times. The ants are kind of hard to remove quickly. It didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I imagined it would though. But the little red bumps are still outrageously itchy 4 days after the incident.

I love new experiences. I’ve had a lifelong uneasiness about fire ants because they always seemed really vicious on the Discovery channel. But now I know that they’re no big deal.

One activity I refuse to ever experience is noodling. Rachel’s dad asked me if I wanted to do it and I was like “No way.” Then he said the banks were full of catfish and tried to convince me it wasn’t that bad. Clearly the man doesn’t understand my aversion to live catfish. I do not want any part of my hand or arm to be inside of one.

I can’t wait to see a gator in real life though!

Here are some pictures that I took with my phone from the pier. Rachel’s parents live up a creek about half a mile from the actual river. Their place is really nice and the decision to build a house on the creek and not the river was a good one, I think. It’s so quiet and peaceful. But if you want to get to the river, you just hop in a kayak and you’re there. Added bonus: they’re only 30 minutes from the beach.

That’s Cricket. She gets super alert and barks like crazy whenever people come past in boats, canoes, and kayaks. She’s the queen of that part of the creek and won’t even let other dogs get on the pier. It’s hilarious.

Long story short: I want every Sunday of my life to be a backyard BBQ with fishing/drinking in the sunshine and blackberry picking. I have really minimal/simple needs.

I want Alabama and Pittsburgh to somehow become the same place. Or for teleportation to be real. Because then I could do things like wake up at my Alabama river house, go to the Buccos home opener (I miss PNC Park already) and end the day at Belve’s, then be back to sleep at my Alabama river house and go kayaking the next day.