It’s Coming…

Ok, first of all, I need to be better than a once a month blogger here.  Granted, I have been extremely dedicated to my blog in Spanish, my true passion for writing at the moment, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have things to say in English every now and then.  In addition, I wouldn’t have started this if I didn’t want to keep my English writing skills sharp.  Of course, all that being said, I am probably about to go on and on about my Spanish goals.  On one hand, I am truly enjoying improving my abilities in speaking Spanish, but sometimes I need to express myself in ways that I haven’t quite mastered in Spanish.  Well, a little more on that later.  First, I want to deal with me other current thoughts and concerns.

I am two weeks away from 32.  In the long run, I still have a lot of 30’s to go, but in the short term, I am worried I am tossing away too much time.  By the time my sister was 32, she was having her first child.  My brother will have his first child before he turns 31.  By the time my mom was 36, she had four children.  Am I saying I am in a rush to have kids?  Not exactly, but it would be nice to have a relationship with someone who might also want kids.  Look, being single has all kinds of advantages, especially when you live in a financial situation as I do, but in the end, when it is all said and done, I would rather tell my grandchildren stories of struggling to get by in my 30’s to have a wonderful family in my 80’s then to die alone, never knowing what it is like to raise a child and have a family.  I feel like I hit on these topics again and again, especially as my birthday approaches and even as I write these words I am aware that often times I am all talk and no action.  In fact, even at my most motivated, I often feel like a hamster running like mad on his wheel, while at my worst, I am content to tread water throughout my life waiting for opportunities to come my way.

Since moving into my own place, I have made efforts to be more social and more community involved.  In recent months, I have begun to truly develop a sense of who I am and what I believe in politically, but I fear like so many others I am willing to talk a lot about what needs to be done but make little effort to actually do anything.  I have strong feelings on social issues, my personal life, and a lot of other matters that come into play on a daily basis for me, but I find each day passes without a great deal of change.  Granted, to overhaul who I am is not an overnight process, but without taking the little steps daily necessary to make the great big changes, nothing will ever come of all my talk.

Here are the big topics.  Like I said, speaking Spanish is a big priority in my life.  Getting myself in shape physically is step two.  The third big goal of mine is to find and establish a relationship with someone.  Ideally, a Spanish speaking, physically fit 24-30 year old woman would be perfect, but I am not really in a situation to be choosy.  Every couple of months, I tell myself I am going to make a plan to change who I am in about a year or so.  Sometimes I make New Year’s Resolutions, despite knowing they rarely pan out.  Other times I use my birthday as a projected goal.  This time, I have another plan.  It is still in the works, but I may as well go over the basics in the hopes it will maintain my focus.

When I was a high school student, I went to a private school.  I often say those four years were the greatest four years of my life.  This is not to say I wouldn’t like to experience another set of great years, but so far, ages 15-18 were pretty good for me.  As a teenager, of course, I didn’t see this.  I worried about having a girlfriend, getting a car, and making the basketball team.  In any case, I do miss those days and look forward to any opportunity I can get to see my circle of friends from back then.  My best chance to see them all together comes around every five years as my school sponsors a reunion.  Since my school was relatively small, every graduating class in five year increments is invited.  For example, my five year reunion coincided with my sister’s ten year reunion.  In any case, I attended the five year but skipped out on the ten.  To be fair, I don’t think the ten year reunion for my class had a big turnout, but next May suddenly will be my 15 year reunion.  Honestly, I can hardly fathom the idea that I have been away from school longer than I was ever in school, but I have started thinking about whether or not I want to go.  After attending my best friend’s wedding last summer and having a great time with my old friends, I think yes, I want to make it to this reunion, however, I have decided there need to be a few conditions upon which I will determine if I attend or not.

Basically, the three goals mentioned above are my determining factors.  While it has nothing to do with anything related to my high school experience, my first goal is to speak Spanish comfortably.  Now, you ask, how is that different from fluently?  Here’s how I am defining it.  This is not the dictionary definition or anything, simply my goal in communicating in Spanish.  At this point, I feel like I can communicate with anyone in the world who speaks Spanish.  I can read, write, and understand almost everything, and while I still struggle following everything my co-workers say to me, in the end, we always manage to understand one another.  Does this make me fluent?  I would argue that I am fluent enough that I could survive on my own in a Spanish speaking environment.  That’s great, but survival is not my goal.  I want to be able to hold a conversation with someone and not have to hesitate to think about the right noun or correct verb tense.  I want to sit at a table and laugh with others without asking the meaning of a word or the significance of a certain phrase.  To me, it’s not a matter of being able to survive, it’s a matter of being comfortable and I think there is a difference.  For me, comfortable can be knowing less vocabulary, but being able to use what I know readily and without hesitation.  I may not be able to discuss astro-physics with anyone, but I want to at least be able to politely excuse myself from that conversation without stumbling.  I want to be able to walk into a room and join a Spanish speaking conversation without having to analyze the situation first.  So, how do I accomplish all this?  Well, that is something I am working on at the moment.  Basically, I need to be more dedicated to spending the time necessary to speak with more ease.  This means actually speaking, not reading, not writing, but really talking.  The whole shyness aspect of my life can really be a deterrent for me and I have to get over it, but I am going to try to take it slowly.  In an effort to develop my accent and be able to roll my r’s like a true native Spanish speaker, I am going to practice reading article out loud daily.  Hopefully this will get my mouth in shape to talk better.  One of my biggest frustrations is to know exactly what I want to say but when I say it to a Spanish speaker, they look at me like I am speaking Chinese, not Spanish.  Once I feel more comfortable with my accent and my ability to say dog (perro in Spanish) without feeling silly, I am well on my way.  Of course the next step is to practice talking with real Spanish speakers.  I have tried using Skype to do this, but I have found it to be awkward to try to establish a legitimate conversation with a total stranger in another part of the world.  Talking with my coworkers can be difficult only because that are constantly trying to speak English or simply don’t have the patience to wait for me.  I have been trying to find ways to get myself out there in the community where there are more Spanish speaking folks, but it has been a slow go so far.  Hopefully I can change all that soon.

Getting myself in shape is a goal I have already started working on, but I have to be careful to keep realistic goals.  Initially, I wanted to shape up for my birthday and I started with six weeks to go.  (Meaning I have been going to the gym almost everyday for about 4 weeks now.)  I wanted to see results by my birthday, but now with my new goal, I need to develop a plan to cover the next 12 months.  In the past, I have had goals for the gym and in my own stupidity I have managed to hurt myself.  I need to remember I am not Superman and no matter how often I go to the gym, it is doubtful I will ever have some muscle head jock body.  I just want to be thin and reasonably developed.  Like everything else in my life, I have to have patience and dedication to accomplish this goal, and I am hoping having my reunion ahead of me will be enough motivation to keep at it.

I imagine like many other of my classmates, I would like to arrive with a spouse.  Given that the reunion is about 13 months away, I am not so sure I will be married, but I would like at least to have someone to bring with me to the dinner.  I know I go on and on about a Spanish speaking girlfriend, and yes, that would be great, but if I were to find an English speaking girl, I certainly wouldn’t turn down the opportunity.  Of course, in order to find a girlfriend, I really need to put myself in a position to meet girls.  Right.  Sure, I go to my favorite Mexican restaurant every Thursday, but I never say any more than my order to the waitress.  I don’t introduce myself to random people dining in the place and I don’t make it a point to speak Spanish, although I always want to.  I am certain a good way to meet single women would be to make friends with others who have single friends, but I am not quite sure how to do that either.  Once again I am making small efforts to involve myself a little more in the community, but it is a difficult journey for someone like me.  I refuse to use online dating sites.  I have made that mistake in the past and have no desire to find some random person online.  I know, these days it is not so uncommon to meet someone this way, but I don’t really want to start spending money to be disappointed again and again.  I suppose if all else fails, I could go back to that, but would really prefer to stay away from that road.

I’ve got two weeks before 32, and one month before I need to officially start preparing for my 15 year reunion.  I think I should sit down (I am already sitting, but you know what I mean) and make some mini-goals just to get me there.  This will be a motivating factor in getting me moving.  Right now, I need to make myself some breakfast and get my mind back into Spanish mode.  I think goal number one is going to be to spend more time speaking/thinking in Spanish.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Until next time….


~ by James on April 10, 2013.

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