Thursday, February 20, 2014

Life is full of odds... it seems fitting that the largest odds of them all belong to life itself.

I'm pretty sure my brain would explode if I tried to wrap it around this idea for too long, but have you ever thought about how incredible it is that you exist as an individual being?  I mean really thought about it?  Seriously!  Let's talk through this from the beginning...

(fyi, as the basis for example here, I shall be using a newly minted adult, whose existence is by way of a "traditional relationship")

First, the obvious.  Mom and Dad need to have a meetcute!  I think we can all agree that the baby train can't exactly leave the station without a conductor and an engineer, amirite?  Alright so Mom and Dad meet, and its cute, and they're cute, and everything is puppies and kittens at this point, for sure.  After the initial point of attraction, they have to talk long enough to gauge an interest level, and act on it.  Check.  Keep it going well enough for a second date?  Sure, check.  Actually develop a substantial relationship?  Okay yeah, I'm still with you here.  Stay together long enough to have kids?  50/50 shot if you've gotten this far.

Are you with me?

What I'm trying to say here is, by the time Mom and Dad meet each other, out of every member of the opposite sex of reproductive age, and go through the traditional relationship timeline, the odds of Johnny Grownup over here even being alive are 1 in 40 million.  Really, all of the above absolutely has to happen for you to even get your 1 in 40 million shot, no matter how the relationship timeline actually goes.

Still, that doesn't seem all that crazy.... but we haven't even gotten to the fun part yet.

Biology 101: Women have a lot of eggs, any one of which could be next in line for the monthly window of opportunity.  Not only that, but men have wayyyyy more sperm than women have eggs, and millions of those bad boys are set free on a daily basis.

Once you've made it to the holy grail of Mom and Dad actually conceiving, then you have to contend with your exact egg meeting with your exact sperm.  Virtually anything could have derailed the sequence of events leading up to your conception, and that's it, game over, thanks for playing.  A different month?  Day?  Hell, even hour!  One change in the egg or the sperm that are in this party of two, and your 'brother' or 'sister' would be sitting here reading this instead of you.

If ALL of this happens - if the planets align, the mountains move, and the angels sing - then you've beaten the odds.  What are those odds by now anyway, you ask?  1 in 400,000,000,000,000,000.  Yes, that's quadrillion by the way.  One in four hundred freaking quadrillion chances of being alive.  This isn't even taking conception or miscarriage rates into consideration, which are low and high, respectively.  Add to all of it that this exact process had to happen with each generation of your family that came before you, on both sides?  We're looking at a number with an insane exponent that basically says, all things considered, the chances of you existing are pretty much zero.  zilch.  nada.  nyet.  none.  and yet here you are, reading a blog post that confirms for you that you really are a unique snowflake.

Take a few minutes to think about that, to really absorb it.  Crazy, huh?  I've spent the last couple of years really soaking it all in, and it has made a definite impact on my outlook toward life.  I don't spend much time thinking about what the meaning, or purpose of life is, but I do spend a fair amount of time thinking about the fact that everyone only has one go at it.  We may never know why we exist, but we do, so its only in our best interests to make the best of it, and do what it takes to be a happy individual.  I hear people ask all of the time, "well what is this elusive Secret to Happiness?" and I think I've finally come to a pretty good answer for that.  Ready?

The Secret is to stop focusing so much on what The Secret is!  Instead, just remember how truly remarkable it is that this awesome zero in a lifetime chance was given to you (you lucky SOB!).  Of course the ride isn't always fun, and sometimes it's downright terrible, but when it's bad, it goes on.... and when its good?  When its good, it is grand.
Take it as it comes; enjoy it for what it is.  Don't dwell on the past, and don't devote too much time/energy/stress or what-have-you to the future.  Always take pleasure in the small things, and try to find something to laugh at every day.  Done!

Its been working for me so far :)

PS, I've been pretty fascinated with the fact that I'm alive basically since I could piece together the circumstances that led my particular genetic combination, so I'll always remember how excited I was to find a graphic that actually laid it out for me in a concrete way.  Even if the methodology is flawed, and the odds aren't QUITE one in four hundred quadrillion - your chances are still pretty much nil, and at least it is something tangible to see.  Check it out if you want!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feels good to be good.

I received my performance evaluation form back today.  This is the first review I've had with my company, and I was super nervous for it.  I was actually sick the morning of... which, by the way, I can't tell you how much I love the fact that my stomach is the preferred method of communication for my nerves.

I know I've done an acceptable job in my position.  I didn't think I would receive a terrible review by any means, but I still had no idea how it was going to go.  The first reason I didn't know is because my evaluation actually covered 18 months rather than the typical 12.  I was a temp for a little over six months before being offered the job permanently, but the review date is obviously based on my date of hire.  I knew there was a possibility that it could work against me, because what if I haven't progressed in my performance adequately for that length of time? 

Although, looking back, there really shouldn't have been any need to worry.  When I first started here, there was also a studio leader, an office manager, a receptionist, and a part-time admin assistant.  I was originally hired on as a temp because we have a project with a SUPER complex billing process, and it was too time consuming for the office manager to handle on top of her other duties.  In addition, she was set to go on maternity leave a couple of months after I started, so I was going to take on some of her day to day responsibility.  While she was on leave, the entire structure of the company changed.  Administrative support was drastically affected in each office - the entire company reduced to one receptionist that handles the phones for all offices, an appropriate ratio of admin support to technical staff members per office, and operations managers (which were originally referred to as Studio Leaders).  This meant letting our receptionist and part-time admin go.  Which meant during my temp time, my office was reduced to: Operations Manager, and me.  Which meant that I was now effectively doing the job that was previously handled by four people (office manager, receptionist, part-time admin, me as a temp).  Not only that, but the company had centralized all of the billing to the corporate office - except for the project that I was brought on for in the first place.  It is honestly so involved that once accounting saw I could handle it, they were like "haha on you, we're never touching it again."  (Which was actually okay by me, because fixing all of the mistakes, and getting us caught up [and all of the awesome spreadsheets I got to create in order to do all of this.... no, seriously, I geek out over spreadsheets] had become a personal project for me.)  Needless to say, I never have nothing to do - but I also wouldn't have it any other way.  Twiddling my thumbs at work is not my idea of a good time.

Which also makes me still wonder to this day, especially as I take on more and more responsibility - what on earth was the office manager doing with her life that she couldn't handle the billing that I was brought on for, when she essentially had two assistants as well?  Granted, a part-time admin would still be nice for mail and shipping and all of that, but I handle the job by myself just fine.  Not to mention our admin to staff ratio is the highest of any office (and I'm the youngest of every admin).  I don't say that to sound cocky or anything, I just really don't understand it.  I guess just different work ethics.

But, I digress... The second reason I didn't know how my evaluation would go is because there is no real benchmarking for how they evaluate support staff.  We had to do a self-evaluation prior to our review, and I just kind of had to wing it.  Not only did I now know what they were really looking for, but the evaluation categories did not always apply to my job (but I had to make it work!), and I've never done a self-evaluation in the first place.

I know my boss is a tough reviewer.  Most people don't receive an "exceeds expectations" rating, because "met expectations" is an excellent achievement in his opinion - our standards are high, and if you meet them, you're above and beyond your typical worker.  Therefore, I was really careful with how I graded myself.  I mostly put that I "met" expectations - I said that I "exceeded" in two areas, and there was one area that I really wanted to put "did not meet" but I felt I adequately fudged my way into "partially met"

My review itself went well, and my nerves had really been for naught.  I still walked out feeling like my results would be "met" across the board.  Which meant that I knew I am considered a solid employee, but it still made me a little apprehensive about re-approaching the promotion/raise conversation during our follow-up discussion later this week.

So what did my review form say?

Not only did my bosses agree that I had "partially met" the criteria that I fudged-but-really-thought-I-didn't-even-meet-in-the-first-place, but they felt that I "met" it!  Not only did they agree that I "exceeded expectations" in the two areas that I had selected that option, but in two additional areas as well!  I "met" seven, and "exceeded" four!!  Also, I know due to some sleuthing I did that one of the main areas that my direct boss wanted me to improve upon was taking initiative.  It's hard to do in my role, so I wasn't quite sure what he meant, but I also wasn't really supposed to know that it was a critique of mine, so I couldn't exactly ask him.  So, I had to wing it.  Well, not only was there a comment within one of my criteria about the initiative that I take, but there was another one within a very concise sentence in the "final comments to be considered" section. Needless to say, I definitely got a huge grin on my face after reading my form.  Also, the boost of confidence it gives me for my continued conversation on Friday is nice.

I know that is a long explanation about something nobody but me really cares about - well, at least cares about as much as I do.  I am really proud of myself, though.  I kind of went into this whole thing in the dark, feeling a little like I had maybe oversold myself, so to come out realizing that I actually undersold myself, well... feels good to be good.

Oh!  Next Tuesday I have my first shadowing session at the animal shelter to bottle feed babycats!!  I've been to one training where I got to feed for about 20 minutes, but this will be a full on 3-hour feeding shadow.  These kittens are sooooo cute, y'all.  They're usually under 4 weeks old, since the shelter tries to place them with foster families after that.  They fit in the palm of your hand, and they usually don't even have any teef yet!!  If they do though, the two front ones grow in first with a gap in the middle, OMG AW AWW AWWWW.

I also submitted my application to the Dell Children's Hospital yesterday.  I won't know for a few days if I've been accepted into the program, but fingers crossed !  They said it can take 7-10 days to hear back, but they have their orientation on Saturday, so I'm hoping to know before then.  I assume I would - why else would the deadline not be until today to submit?  [sidenote: received an email on 08/16 confirming selection, eeee!!]  Anyway.  I would looooove to have a couple shifts as a baby cuddler, but I know those are some of the most coveted volunteer positions, so I don't know how likely it is.

My idea was to volunteer at least one day at week at each place.  I'm going to start falling into a rut again soon, so I really want to get out and do things that will make a difference, and give me a sense of fulfillment.  Plus, it's free stuff to do!  Win-win-win.  Feels good to be good.

Friday, August 3, 2012


United States of America team(s), you have done the 2012 Summer Olympics proud so far.  Through sheer ambition and motivation, hours of hard work and dedication, little to no social life, sacrificing delicious junk food, etc. etc. etc., your best has been presented for the XXX Olympic Games. 

In case you have not been paying attention to the games this year, allow me to introduce a few of our most eye-catching athletes...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Is this thing on?

I have been trying to come up with a "perfect first post" for quite awhile now - one that would just set the tone beautifully for what's to come.  A post that would encapsulate everything I want this blog to be in one neat little package to present to the world.

It's recently come to my attention that the reason I can't come up with this so-called "perfect post" is most likely due to the fact that I don't know what the fuck I'm doing.

I certainly am not going to know where this blog is supposed to take me if I still wonder sometimes how I even got to where I am in life.  I still feel like this awkward teenager inside sometimes, and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop - for someone else to notice that I was definitely thrown into the deep end of adult life with no floaties.  Nobody ever does though!  They just let me keep this adult job, with a real salary, and don't bat an eye that I live alone in my own apartment, with real bills that get paid every month.  I look every bit the part of a grown person with their shit together.

And I suppose I am, in the grand scheme of things.  I've learned a lot about myself, and life, through the years - lessons that can only come with growing up.  Lessons in friendship, in love, in how to be a decent person, in tragedy, in how to carry myself.  I've grown from my parents telling me what to do, to considering and valuing their words as advice but ultimately making my own decisions.  I fully support myself, and clean up my own messes.  I am a legit, full-fledged adult, y'all!

Therein lies the answer.  If I can play grown-up with the best of them, even though internally I'm screaming "BUT I'M STILL FIFTEEN!," then chances are most of you are doing the same.

So here I am.  I started a blog because I love to write, so it's time for me to just do it already.  Nobody is going to care that I don't have a "perfect" post, because you know what?  Nobody else knows what the fuck they're doing, either.