Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

It's funny how a year can fly by.

Looking forward, it seems like 365 days is a lifetime; but looking back, its really just a blur.

It's the last day of 2010 and I am bound and determined to make it a good one.  I have a great boss who gave me the day off, I have my family at home, I made what is going to be a to-die-for pot of chili and I have carefree night to spend with people I love.  I don't really see how it could go wrong.

Tomorrow, I plan on blogging about my goals for 2011, but today I think it is important to look back and say an extra prayer to the man upstairs for blessing me like he has. 

In the last 365 days, I have traveled the country looking at good livestock, met some of the most highly respected producers in the country, made some great memories with even better friends, spent a month in France, got to go to every cattle show imaginable, impressed myself in the reasons room, spent a week in Puerto Rico with one of the most prestigious food marketing companies in the world, said goodbye to Fargo, graduated, got engaged, moved home and started a full-time job at BEEF magazine. 

No wonder it's been a whirlwind?  Part of me, expects 2011 to be a little bit slow after this year...but I doubt it.  I have a wedding to plan, a career to establish and a life to create back home.  I am excited, I am ready and I can't wait for all the new adventures in 2011.

Enjoy your celebration tonight, I hope you spend it with all of your favorite people...but before you start planning the year to ahead, stop and remember how far you have come.  Whether it was a good year or a bad, it is now a part of you and it has changed who you now are.  Enjoy your last day of 2010.  :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas. Chirstmas. Christmas. Christmas.

I love Christmas.

I love getting everyone the perfect gift, wrapping it beautifully and setting them under the tree.  I look forward to the food, fudge and family all year.  I love playing the piano (which I am terrible at) while my family sings at Grandma's and I practice all year for the annual euchre tournament. It's my favorite time of the year.

So it's hard to admit that I am officially "Christmased" out.

Holidays + relationships=twice the parties, twice the fun, twice the food, twice the gifts and twice the running.

Christmas for Mark and I started December 10th and officially ended today.  During the 16 day stretch, we managed to celebrate with Fargo friends,  Purfeerst family, May family, my immediate family, his immediate family, my Niebur family and finally his Tatge family.   It was exhausting and I could do without fudge, oyster stew and white elephants for a least a month or two.

Now, I am not complaining, I still love Christmas and I got to spend a lot of time with this cute little girl and my family.  I am simply tired and since I am seem to be the only person in the world that has to work in the morning...I am going to bed. 

But before I climb into my comfy bed, I just want to wish you one last Merry Christmas!  I hope you all got to spend as much time with family and friends that you too are "christmased" out and that you ate so much food your pants are bulging and if not, only 364 days to wait until it all begins again! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Approximately two months ago I wrote The Final To Do List.  At that point, the list seemed daunting and slightly unrealistic but you know me, I dream big.

Today, I can proudly say I checked nearly everything off my list and I am still proud of the two that got left standing.  Check it out below:
  • Build a website because my diploma is depending on it.  
    • Purfeerst Farms is a proud new owner of a website designed by j.may designs.  Check it out--it is a pretty good start!  I want to keep improving so let me know if you want to be a practice site!
  • Complete a major research project on social media.
    • This was one was a bit tough, but I finished it on time and got a big old A on the paper.  Want to know what I found?  Twitter isn't as popular as all of us new media junkies think.  Weird huh?
  • Dominate the Royal & Louisville. Talk three 49's in one day.
    • This is my one of my unaccomplished goals. I admit, I am disappointed for a second and then I remember the scores I did talk and totally forget it.  49,48 and 47 in cattle is pretty good too.
  • Have way to much fun. Become a Chubs regular.
    • Check and check.  I think I am the only person that graduated Summa Cum Laude from a bar and a college.
  • Get wild and maybe end up at the Northern. 
    • It wasn't wild, but I did join a certain professor and friends there for lunch.
  • Officially end a job in order to start a new one.
    • I am almost through my first full week at BEEF and haven't been an employee of BWW for nearly two.  It could have a possibility of being sad if Mark hadn't made me eat there 3 times since.  It's kind of exciting to not have to ask if you want ranch or bleu cheese anymore. :)
  • Clean, pack and move...away from my Fargo.
    • It was long, dreary and dirty...but we did it.  After 4 great years, I am no longer a resident of 1502 Dakota Drive.  I am definitely going to miss it.  Especially my own heater, my own bathroom and everything not packed in boxes...but so far home has been good, plus my car is always warm in the morning and I never make supper!  
  • Make sure the tradition of the Christmas Dinner lives on.
    • I didn't think it was going to be possible and I did hit peak stress, but oh man, the tradition continued.  It was so great!  Everyone was back, the apartment was packed and the food was delicious.  I am not guaranteeing it is going to be the same next year, but we went out with a bang.
  • Have one last Bison day.
    • School is for fools, especially when you don't have it on MWF.  I had a fair share of Bison days! :)
  • Make this an agvocate blog. 
    • I am trying and I promise it will get better.
  • Become ALUMNI ready and buy new NDSU clothes.
    • YES!  I bought the treasured NDSU sweatshirt...you know the one that is the most expensive clothing item in the store and you know you are going to wear it for the rest of your life?  The NDSU sweatshirt?  Yup...it's mine. :)  Best Christmas present I bought myself and now the BISON are as evident in my closet as they are in my heart!
  • Figure out how I am going to live with my parents.
    • We are managing.  It has been so crazy so far, I haven't had time to go insane!
  • Convince my boyfriend to marry me so I don't have to live with my parents.
    • WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  I did it!  This is the only goal I was positive I couldn't check off my list and I did it.  Somehow I must have done something extra right that night, because finally he decided he wanted to make me his wife.  I promise you there will be more details to follow.
  • Tell everyone how important they are to me...twice.
    • If I somehow missed you, this is for you--I couldn't and wouldn't be the person I am today without everyone who helped me get through NDSU, life and every exciting thing I have ever done.  Thank you. 
  • Don't mess up the GPA you worked hard (????) for.
    • I didn't and it was worth it.  The president says extra nice things to you when he shakes your hand when you are one of few that managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude.  "Impressive, Outstanding Work, So proud of you!"
  • Give about 2 million sets of reasons.
    • You could ask B. Williams to verify this, but it might have been 2 million and 1.
  • Buy a really good heifer.
    • Maybe the owner of the heifer I fell in love with is reading this and wants to cut me a deal.  Otherwise, it is a complete fail.  O well, I needed a New Year's resolution!
I am pretty happy with how far I have came in two months--life has changed drastically and I am definitely excited to see where it is headed!  Watch for more posts soon! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Photographs

These are the memories I couldn't live without. These are the people I will think about when I think college. These are the cheesy smiles, crazy nights and friendships we perfected. 
This is my college career...in photographs.


















random thoughts randomly put in a blog.

I told myself I would blog today and I am not going to let myself down.  After the terrible day I had, I can't afford to disappoint myself. :)

I am so carefree lately, it is scary.  Sure my LAST DAY EVER AT BWW was one of the worst in months and then I got stuck staying til 4 and I totally winged a website I am not completely proud of and I have a 8-10 page paper due by Sunday that I haven't started...but I don't really care. 

That's fun, huh?

I just have to get through the next 12 hours and then I have a date with my two best guy friends at the Turf for lunch, a quick trip to Walmart and the mall for necessities and ALL of my favorite people back in Fargo! 

I am almost positive this is going to be an EPIC weekend to end a pretty great run at NDSU. The end is only a week away!

I just can't quite decide if I am excited for this graduation thing.  Now, I know I am ready for it.  I have prepared myself.  I have worked extremely hard the past four years to get where I am and the real world can't be that different than the intense college career I put myself through...right? 

But still, some days I don't really want to graduate.  Some days, I want to move home so badly and others I want to live with Cait and Whit forever.  Usually, I am so excited to start a full-time job and every once in a while, I am scared crapless to start that job.


Do you want to know why I think I am little scared?  It is the dumbest reason in the world...and I am blaming it all on Mark...but I really really really am dreading going to work everyday for the rest of my life.  Ten days vacation?  That is not nearly enough for this girl--especially when her bf takes off for every cattle show or agriculture event ever invented. 

I just need to breathe and relax.  It won't be that bad.  Everyone else does it and I am going to work for a great company that is right up my alley...I am so excited to be involved in the industry in such a crucial way.  But I am still scared.  Please stop judging me...it's normal I think.

However, in the mean time, I am going to live it up.  I have 10 days (minus 2 days that I work at BEEF) to be absolutely crazy, go wild and check a few things off my to do list!  And....if that means slacking on some school work...so be it. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfection

Yesterday, I was having a bad day.  I can't completely say why.  I had a cold, got in a fight with my mother, saw my dwindling bank account in my final month of college and got annoyed by nearly everything.  It just wasn't great.  We all have those days. 

Today, I found this post.  I need to share it.  Yes, it is long, but is completely worth it.  It was written a while ago by Single Dad Laughing.  I am glad he decided to get serious for this one.  Find it here if you want to read more of his stuff--I actually highly encourage you to visit his post because the comments are just as inspiring.  

"As a warning, the following post was written in complete desperation. I have recently learned some very sobering truths from people that I love dearly. These truths have set in motion a quest within me to do whatever I can to make a change. Today is not geared at funny. Today is geared at something greater. Read it to the very end. I promise you will be affected in a way you have always needed to be. I spent more than twelve hours writing this post because its message is that important to me.

I wonder. Am I the only one aware that there is an infectious mental disease laying siege on us right now? There is a serious pandemic of "Perfection" spreading, and it needs to stop. Hear me out because this is something for which I am passionately and constantly hurting. It's a sickness that I've been trying to put into words for years without much success. It's a sickness that I have personally struggled with. It's a sickness that at times has left me hiding in dark corners and hating myself.

And chances are it's hit you too.

What is the disease called "Perfection"? Perhaps a list of its real-life symptoms will help you better understand it. We live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured. "Perfection" is much different than perfectionism. The following examples of "Perfection" are all real examples that I have collected from experiences in my own life, from confidential sources, or from my circle of loved ones and friends. If you actually stop to think about some of these, you will cry as I did while writing it. If you don't, maybe you're infected with way too much of this "Perfection" infection.

"Perfection" is a wife who feels trapped in a marriage to a lazy, angry, small man, but at soccer practice tells the other wives how wonderful her husband always is. "Perfection" keeps people from telling the truth, even to themselves. My husband is adorable. He called me a whore this week because I smiled at a stranger. When I started crying, he said he had a game to go watch. I love him so much.

"Perfection" is a husband who is belittled, unappreciated, and abused by his wife, yet works endlessly to make his marriage appear incredible to those around him. "Perfection" really does keep people from being real about the truth. You would have laughed, guys. She said that I suck at my job and will never go anywhere in life. Then she insinuated that I was a fat, rotting pile of crap. Isn't she the best?

"Perfection" is a daughter with an eating disorder that keeps it hidden for years because she doesn't want to be the first among her family and friends to be imperfect. She would give anything to confront it, but she can't because then the "Perfect" people would hate her as much as she hates herself for it.

"Perfection" is when a son has a forbidden addiction, and despises himself for it. "Perfection" makes us believe that nobody else could understand what it is like to be weak and fall prey to the pressures of the world.

"Perfection" is a man who loathes himself for feeling unwanted attraction toward other men.

"Perfection" is a couple drowning in debt, but who still agree to that cruise with their friends because the words "we don't have the money" are impossible ones to push across their lips.

"Perfection" is a mom hating herself because she only sees that every other mom around her is the perfect mother, the perfect wife, and the perfect neighbor. I'd give anything to be Mrs. Jones. Today she ran 34 miles, cooked six complete meals, participated in a two-hour activity with each of her seven children, hosted a marriage class with her husband, and still had time to show up for Bunco. What this mom doesn't know is that Mrs. Jones is also at home crying right now because the pressure to be "Perfect" never lets up.

"Perfection" is a dad hating himself because he can't give the same thing to his kids that other dads do, and then hates himself further because he takes his self-loathing out on his kids behind closed doors. You know what would have been nice? If you were never born. Do you realize how much money I'd have right now? Now come give Daddy a hug because I can force you to give me validation.

"Perfection" is a child hating herself because the boys at school call her fat, and when she goes home she tells her mom that school was fine. Her mom never stops to question why her daughter doesn't have any friends, becaue her mom doesn't want to think that anything might be less than "Perfect".

"Perfection" is a man feeling like a smaller man because his neighbor just pulled in with a new boat.

"Perfection" is a woman who is so overwhelmed that she thinks about killing herself daily. "Perfection" makes it so that she never will because of the things people will think if she does. How could I make my suicide look like an accident? If I kill myself, I don't want anybody knowing that I ever had any problems. She never stops to look at why she wants to do it, because healing means admitting imperfection.

"Perfection" is a man who everybody heralds as perfect, and inside he is screaming to be seen as the faulty human being that he always has been. Because to no longer be "the perfect one", that would be freeing.

"Perfection" is a woman having an affair because she's too afraid to confront the imperfection in her marriage.

"Perfection" is a twelve-year-old boy killing himself because he is ashamed that he can't stop masturbating.

Stop, and read that one again.

There is a twelve-year-old boy buried 20 miles from where I sit because the "Perfection" that has infected the people around him infected him to the point that he deemed his own life worthless. "Perfection" pushed him to take his own life over something most of us would consider negligible in the life of any teenage boy.

"Perfection" is my friend's cousin swallowing hundreds of pills because she just got the news that she was pregnant, out of wedlock, and the shame was too much to bear. She was only attempting to cause a miscarriage. 24 hours later, she closed her eyes and never opened them again. She is dead because of the "Perfection" infecting those around her. We'd rather you die than shame this family. Thanks for taking care of that, honey. By the way, we'll do the right thing and make ourselves out to be the victims now. We have to. We're infected with "Perfection".

I could go on. This is all a small sampling of the disease called "Perfection". You have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, extended family members, neighbors, friends, and children who are ALL these things, yet none of us will ever know. "Perfection" is a hideous monster with a really beautiful face. And chances are you're infected. The good news is, there is a cure.

Be real.

Embrace that you have weakness. Because everybody does. Embrace that your body is not perfect. Because nobody's is. Embrace that you have things you can't control. We all have a list of them.

Here's your wake-up call:

You aren't the only one who feels worthless sometimes.

You aren't the only one who took your frustrations out on your children today.

You aren't the only one who isn't making enough money to support your lifestyle.

You aren't the only one who has questions and doubts about your religion.

You aren't the only one who sometimes says things that really hurt other people.

You aren't the only one who feels trapped in your marriage.

You aren't the only one who gets down and hates yourself and you can't figure out why.

You aren't the only one that questions your sexual orientation.

You aren't the only one who hates your body.

You aren't the only one that can't control yourself around food.

Your husband is not the only husband who's addiction sends him online for his sexual fulfillment instead of to you.

Your wife is not the only wife that is mean and vindictive and makes you hate yourself.

Why didn't somebody, anybody, put their arm around that 12-year old boy and let him know that they loved him and would always love him? What was he being told and taught that he would end his own life over something that almost no teenager can control? Maybe that beautiful and wonderful boy would still be alive if even one person had broken down the "Perfection" that completely controlled all those in his life from whom he desperately craved validation.

Why didn't somebody, anybody, tell a beautiful pregnant girl that there was nothing so big in life that it couldn't be made right. Maybe that incredible young woman would still be alive. Maybe her now one-year-old child would be learning to walk or say "Mommy" right now. Maybe.

Maybe.

The cure is so simple.

Be real.

Be bold about your weaknesses and you will change people's lives. Be honest about who you actually are, and others will begin to be their actual selves around you. Once you cure yourself of the disease, others will come to you, asking if they can just "talk". People are desperate to talk. Some of the most "perfect" people around you will tell you of some of the greatest struggles going on. Some of the most "perfect" people around you will break down in tears as they tell you how difficult life is for them. Turns out some of the most "perfect" people around us are human beings after all, and are dying to talk to another human being about it.

You'll love them for it. And you'll love yourself even more.

Let's not forget this quote: "I went out to find a friend and could not find one there. I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere." Somebody who is being a friend doesn't spread "Perfection". Somebody who is being a friend spreads "Real". Then, and only then, can we all grow together.

I am not perfect, nor do I want anybody to think of me as such. Here's my dose of real:

I once stole a box of money that was meant for a child with cancer. There was more than $150 inside. That was 12 years ago, and I still hate the person in me that did that.

I believe in God, but not religion. It took me 30 years to find the courage to say that. It took me 30 years to believe that I could be a good man and still believe that.

I once got so angry at my wife that I hit the wall. The dent is still there, haunting me every time I see it because I never thought that was something I would do.

I once sat in my bedroom crying uncontrollably because I felt like everybody thought I was fat and ugly. I was a full grown man.

There are some people I avoid bumping into in public because I feel like I'm not as good as them.

I judge people harshly who share the same features that I hate about myself.

Sometimes I'm sad. Sometimes I'm not funny. Sometimes I just want to be alone. Sometimes I stay at home on a weekend because I just don't want to see the "Perfection" going on around me. Sometimes I want to drop-kick a perfect person's head across the room.

"Perfection" infects every corner of society. It infects our schools. It infects neighborhoods. It infects our workplaces. This is not to say that there aren't a lot of genuinely, happy people. I am one of those people. Most of the time. There is nothing more beautiful than a person finding true happiness in who they are and what they believe. No, this is not me trying to diminish the happiness in others. This is merely me pathetically attempting to put a face on a problem that I see everywhere but few people ever notice.

This is me, weeping as I write, asking the good people of the world to find somebody to put their arm around and be "real". This is me, wishing that people would realize how beautiful they are, even with all of their imperfections. This is me, sad and desperate for the girls in this world to love themselves. This is me, a very imperfect man, trying to help others feel a little more perfect by asking you to act a little less perfect.

Will you help me spread "Real"? Tell us below just how perfect you aren't. You never know who might be alive tomorrow because you were real today. You never know who needs to feel like they aren't alone in their inability to be perfect. Even if you comment as an anonymous guest, please comment. Tell us what you struggle with. Tell a sad or dark secret. Get vulnerable. Get real. Let's see if we can get 10,000 people showing the world that we're not defined by perfection.

And please, share this post on Facebook, twitter, and your blog. If you want the people around you to start being real, you have to be real first. I believe in the power of numbers and that enough people reading it might actually help shake down a few of the problems we cause for each other. If it's your first time here, we'd love to have you follow us. I promise it's not always this intense (or nearly this long). I'll post something really funny tomorrow."

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing Being Real

FOLLOW-UP NOTE: One week after I originally posted this article, I posted a response called The CURE for "Perfection". Click here to read it and be part of the cure.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

my.life.is.loopy.

The past 72 hours have been crazy.

I have successfully spent time with my family, Mark's family and the whole town of Randolph.  I have rushed down water slides and rode on a lazy river.  I have conquered the flu.  And by conquer I mean just barely survived...good luck if you catch that bug..it's nasty. I have driven to Fargo in white-out conditions going a mere 30-mph on Interstate 94.  I have built a website.  Yes, a real one.  I have worked one of my last shifts at BWW.

And I have basically gone loopy.  No joke.

So, can you blame me when today (at 3 in the afternoon) I decided to go to the liquor store and buy Bailey's to put in my coffee?  It seemed to make perfect sense; but it would because I seriously have the most illogical thoughts right now.

Plus, Teddy gave me 10% off at Chubs Pub.  Yes...that only equals tax but I was easily fooled.

I wish I could say that "I just need to graduate!" but if my brain's current state continues with me post-NDSU, I am going to be in trouble.

And this is the end because I was going to write more...but I lost my focus.  Go figure?

Hopefully tomorrow will be a more productive day where I clean my apartment, rebuild the website I built yesterday, do homework, etc.  I doubt it but one can always hope.