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Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

The Curative Powers of a Walk in the Park

In Encouraging Thoughts on March 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

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I have always enjoyed a good walk. Rainy day expeditions, picturesque hikes, romantic strolls: they’re all gold to these feet. Throughout the years, walks have served different purposes for me. In high school, they were a form of escapism. I could decompress after fights with my parents (They just don’t understand me!) and dream about the future. In college, walking became a simple means to get from Pregame A to Party B.  With no car, taking to the sidewalks was more of a functional activity than anything else. I certainly wasn’t journeying home from the library at 2 a.m. hopped up on study aids to achieve inner peace.

Now that college is over and I have a trusty Honda, the purpose of my walks has changed yet again. These days, it’s like they were prescribed for the preservation of my mental health. Take once daily to avoid sobbing in the fetal position.

I realized this last weekend while weaving through a neighborhood park, serenaded by the melancholy croons of Rogue Wave’s “Cheaper Than Therapy.” (Song synopsis: music and wine are cheaper than therapy.) I had just weathered a rough, or alternatively, successful, night of bar hopping and reconnecting with old friends. Nothing can lift my spirits quite like laughing with past partners in crime, but I can’t exactly self-actualize by downing vodka cranberries and dancing to Ke$ha.

As I let the crisp weather soak up my hangover, I thought about how time spent unwinding with friends isn’t what has kept me grounded during this tumultuous year. Rather, it was this path under my feet, this calming solitude that was giving me an opportunity to reflect. It’s true that half the fun of your twenties is not having everything figured out, but the other half isn’t fun at all, just anxiety and crippling uncertainty.

Everyone needs a way to deal with these feelings; I’ve found my own cure in soul-searching walks. I happen to agree with Rogue Wave in their sentiment that conventional therapy may be overrated, but I don’t support their substitute of drinking to a soundtrack. For me, a cathartic walk in the park wins out over that substance-abuse-problem-waiting-to-happen any day. Sorry, RW.

Much love,

Leah Morris

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Interviewing or “The Art of Losing Yourself”

In (un)Professionalism on March 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I recently had a job interview with a retail company popular on the high school circuit. It was for a merchandising position, and they wanted to be assured that I “connect” with the brand. This was definitely true in my teenage years – I begged my mom to buy me anything with their logo, just like all the other upper-middle class white girls.

However, as an adult, I find this company a bit reprehensible. Without naming names, I think they go the extra length to promote in-group/out-group dynamics in our public schools and do their part to create body image issues for tomorrow’s generation (…thank you, that one course in Women’s Studies). So yeah, you could say I don’t visit them at the mall too often these days.

Besides my personal distaste, there is also the simple fact that I am 23 years old. Of course I don’t identify with a clothing line marketed toward preppy teens. Still, my appearance at the interview may have suggested otherwise. I looked like their biggest fan, decked out from head to toe in adolescent swag.

Now, I may not have a spiritual connection with these garments, but the economy is crap, money is money, and this job would pay 20K more than any other position I’m qualified for. If there’s someone out there who would display moral virtue under these circumstances, it isn’t me. I fed the overgrown prepster sitting across the table just what he wanted to hear, hoping my acting credentials were solid enough to secure employment.

After the ass-kissing session was through, I started thinking about how strange the interview process is as a whole. We try to become independent adults during college, to stop letting other people dictate how we act or what we like. I spent my time as an undergrad growing into the kind of person who doesn’t care what other people think. Naturally, then, I was more than a little disgusted as I left my interview looking like that mean girl from 2nd period English.

As recent graduates and big kid job hunters, there’s this weird push and pull between our newly found integrity and the reality of needing to support ourselves. Nowhere is this tension more apparent than in an interview. More often than not, we bend the truth, overemphasize certain interests, and downplay others. We spend four years finding ourselves only to lose this person during an hour of artfully answering questions. Maybe someday, sincerity and job security won’t be mutually exclusive concepts in my mind. But today, I’ll just focus on that extra 20K and keep my fingers crossed for the future.

Frankly,

Leah Morris