Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ketchup

Is my post title cleaver or stupid? I can't decide.

Guess what?! I am officially done with semester 2 of my PhD! Yay! About 4 more semesters (not including summer sessions) aka 2 years of classes to go before the fun of DISSERTATION begins. I can't wait. Seriously, let's.do.this.

This was actually an anti-climatic end as both classes had about the same amount of work due throughout the semester, so there was no BIG end project that I needed to get off my chest to feel relieved. I had a big paper due the second week of April that was the biggest relief of the semester, but otherwise everything was very manageable and spread out (with a lot of reading). The work load was very do-able this semester, and I enjoyed working with the master's level students for 6 weeks in teaching and supervising. I am excited for more teaching this summer and next fall!

That being said, I am excited for a 3 week break before summer classes start and celebrating in Chicago this weekend! I honestly won't know what to do with myself during the week without having to go to VCU at least twice a week after work. WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WITH FREE TIME?! I need a new Netflix show as I am almost done with Lost. And I may read. And run. And eat. So I guess not much is really changing...Maybe I will sleep more-> not that I don't get enough sleep anyways:) 

Can we also talk about how I just realized today while checking into my flight that on Frontier Airlines you have to pay for a CARRY ON?! WTF?! It is $30! Now, I know I am cheap but my goodness that is ridiculous. I am driving up to D.C. to take a cheaper flight and it will end up not being that much cheaper. I will never fly this airline again. This is killing my traveling frugal-ness! Arg. I think someone should pay this for me- mom?! dad?! random friends that have better jobs and aren't in school?! I think I may take the challenge and fit everything in a backpack (which is free to carry on). We'll see if I can do this.

And another random catch-up item, someone recently asked me about how my body changed while marathon training. I realized I never really commented on it on the blog-> probably because I didn't have too much too say nor any kind of eye-opening insight. I didn't weigh myself much at all during the 16 weeks of training, but I think I gained about 2-3 pounds of muscle. However, I lost inches all over (except my wonderful thighs), so I was told by people that I looked thinner. It is hard to find a balance between eating enough but not too much during training because you are hungry! My food bill definitely increased:) Since it's only been about 5 weeks since the race and I have still been running regularly, I haven't noticed much of a change in weight/body composition, but my hunger has decreased a little. I honestly don't weigh myself much and just go by how my clothes fit. So again, no life-changing information from my experience, but I know every one's body adapts differently to training. I am usually pretty healthy, but I didn't always stick to great habits during training and usually gorged myself the day before, during, or after my long run:) Gotta enjoy a little extra junk when it is "acceptable." Just can't go toooooo crazy all the time!

And look what I got to do at work today! Pick up dogs from Richmond Animal League for our Vet Science class! Not too shabby of an errand:)

They were so good!
Have a great weekend! I will be in Chi-town with a recap coming early next week!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Media Blows

I have been wanting to talk about this for a while, but when I try to sit down and write a post about it, my thoughts do not get put into words on print very well. Here is my attempt!

I am sick of basically everything about the media-> news, social, entertainment, ect. I have begun completely turning off the TV (I literally only watch Netflix now...don't get me started on commercials and certain reality shows) and am finding that when I go online and I am not reading blogs and instead come across news stories, I just get annoyed and question the state of our society. News made out of nothing, hateful comments, judgement, too much emphasis on who is dating who/how much weight they have gained or lost/who is a jerk in real life/who is pregnant...is overwhelming and saddening. Part of this is my fault,- I have let the media become too big a presence in my daily life- but part of it is also the state we are currently in. This happens on TV, in magazines, on the radio, facebook, instagram, twitter, ect...

I was at brunch this past weekend with some friends, and at the table next to us an entire family was on their phones, not talking to one another. The saddest part is I know this is not unusual. At my work students are getting in fights over social media- screen shots being sent of pictures or conversations, threatening messages...it is constant. More so this year than in year's past, probably because I am working with middle schoolers, but it is a constant issue even with high school students. The amount of drama created via apps, smartphones and the internet is exponential.

I also hate what I hear when I watch the news. I typically only have the news on in the morning while I am getting ready because I like my local weatherman, but so many of the stories are fluff and oftentimes the network is plugging it's own shows. There are "investigations" on issues that are unfounded and often little research is going into the stories. It is like news stations are so desperate for SOMETHING to fill their time (since they are on ALL THE TIME) that the quality is so low. I think it makes people think things are a bigger deal than they actually are, and it gives people power that they did not have before, because their complaints or concerns can now get warrant.

Don't get me started on entertainment. I have loved People Magazine my whole life, but when this was an article on their website yesterday, I just about felt the need to write a complaint to the editor.



REALLY?! THIS is what you call an "incredible body transformation...?!." First, it looks like someone went from in-shape to SUPER in-shape...and why are we using Reddit as a basis for a People website story?! It is my own fault that I go to these websites when I am killing time, but I can't help but feel that they are just getting so much worse than they used to be. Made up stories on things that mean NOTHING are what fill their pages and websites. I love TV and movie scoop, especially recaps and reviews of shows, and even sports stories, but I think the rest of the entertainment industry is going garbage.

Because of all this, I find myself judging people I have never met and having opinions on situations that I do not know the whole story on. Since when does that give me a right to have an arguable opinion? What ever happened to getting facts straight, researching or LIVING an experience to make up what we think about it? The Bruce Jenner story for one thing. Until I saw the interview I very well may have silently judged what was going on based on the media reports. That is not cool and should not be something I do about people/events I otherwise would know nothing about.

Staying away from the media is hard and oftentimes I do not know a lot of the hard news occurring because I stay away from it so much (my knowledge of the Baltimore riots this week has been limited because I don't watch or read much news), but I just can't immerse myself in this culture anymore. So much of our lives are now based off of the fakeness that is the internet, and I just want to do back living in my bubble and only having opinions or making decisions on things that I am in the presence of. Or when I do have opinions, learning the whole story before I make up my mind. I guess that is what TRUE living is, right?!

It is hard to totally distance yourself from it all, and there are so many things about media that I DO like: staying connected to people, following celebrities (yes, my vice), recipes, pictures, ect...but there is such a fine line between not letting it impact your own life and judgments. My new goal is to really take this to heart and try not to judge or expose myself to this crap as much. I also want to call out people more who are doing it. I am tired of being polite and standing idly by while others judge.

There is so much more to life that all this crap. The media blows.

How do you feel about the media? What do you do to stay away and be nonjudgemental?

Monday, April 27, 2015

How I Can Travel (as much as I do)!

Hey there! Happy Monday. It is hard to believe May is almost here! I love this time of year:)

I am pumped because I am heading to Chi-town in 4 short days! I have heard great things about the city and am excited to explore. I just gotta get through this final week of classes and work before heading up to D.C. on Thursday night. Thankfully, everything should be smooth sailing.

I was out at brunch this weekend with some work friends and amidst our many conversations (including the Bruce Jenner interview-> please watch it you have not yet, so heartbreaking/interesting/important), a comment was made to me about how much I travel. The day before my friend and I had been talking about a similar comment made to him (a teacher) about how teachers in his school don't understand how he has so much money to be able to travel so much on a teacher's salary. Then I read another bloggers post about traveling and how it always seems to bring up jealously in a lot of people, especially since you can see where everyone is going on social media. However, you never know how people are affording their travels and many sacrifices are being made for people to do so.

I work in education, yet I am still able to go on many trips a year. It is what is important to me, so I make sure that throughout the year when I am not traveling, I am making sound financial decisions so I can save money to travel. Traveling is my priority at this point in my life. I know it is not everybody's, and that is ok, but these are some ways I afford it:

  1. I automatically save a certain amount of money every month from my paycheck. I live on much less than what I make. Every month an automatic draft goes out of my checking account to a high interest savings account (and by high interest, I mean I earn like .9%...ha). This money is not touchable. I ONLY skip a month if I have had an emergency, like a big car repair or household expense. These probably only happen once a year. Otherwise, that money is growing and only being used to traveling, school and big purchases. I also like to keep that money at a certain amount to make sure I have enough for a rainy day.
  2. I invest in retirement. What does this have to do with traveling? Well, again, I am used to living on much less than what I make. I max out a Roth IRA every year and also contribute to a 457(b). This helps save me on taxes and is a nice chunk of savings for a rainy day. I have earned a lot of money from the Roth, and even though I don't plan on touching it, when my savings gets lower, I know I have a backup to take out without penalty if something catastrophic happens. That being said, my savings never gets THAT low.
  3. I have always worked other jobs. I have held a job since I was 15 and have always saved. In college I had a high paying part-time job (for college standards) that allowed me to save for grad school. In grad school I lived at home so I wouldn't have to take out loans. I saved every extra penny I made. After grad school, I babysat and worked at a pool in my summers for extra money. Even though I now work year round, I still work at a local county club 1-2 days a week during the summer for some extra money. It's easy and gives me some spending cash. Working also means I am not spending money, am staying busy, and am meeting new people!
  4. I don't have a car payment. My lovely 2004 Saturn Ion may not be the most luxurious car out there, but I bought it straight out of college with cash. I have NEVER had a car payment. My view on a car is: Is it reliable? Does it get good cash mileage? Is it affordable? That is about it. I just don't care to have fancy or expensive cars, and I would never buy a car new or one that is over a certain amount of money-> just not worth it to me. And I take care of them- oil changes and tire rotations frequently. I also don't care about fixing every little thing that goes wrong- my coolant light is currently broken, but I just don't care to fix it, and there is a funny thing with the ignition switch. My car now has over 100k miles, and I am hopeful I can get a few more years out of her! At least until I am done with my PhD:).
  5. I can afford my mortgage. I was very particular about what I could afford when I was looking to buy a condo. I wanted a place that I could put 20% down but also one in which my monthly payment would be less than me renting a similar place in the area. I have now owned for over 3 years, and I do not feel "house pour" at all. I put a little extra into my mortgage payment when I can, but I am very comfortable with what I owe and the space I have in my little place. It is all I need:)
  6. I don't go shopping. I rarely am out buying clothes or household items. I will only go on Amazon and order online when I need something specific. I am wearing the same things I have had for year. I usually reserve getting "treats" for my birthday Christmas when I can get them as gifts. Part of this is due to the cost of new items, but mainly I don't like shopping anymore. I would rather know exactly what I need, find it online and order it! I also have many friends that allow me to borrow clothes for weddings and events:). My dress from the wedding in Florida a few weeks ago was borrowed from a friend! Friends have the best closets!
  7. I budget for EVERYTHING. I LOVE MINT.COM. It is the best budgeting tool ever, and I update it every month for my specific needs. I typically only eat out once a week, and I very rarely go to movies, concerts or expensive events. I am all about going to free festivals or going with friends places and not getting anything (like a brewery-> it also helps that I do not like beer). I always weigh how much buying/participating in something is worth to me. Sometimes that $3 coffee is not worth the money and other times that $50 football ticket is. It depends on my mood and is always something I ask myself. I find so many people do not think about what they are spending on and just spend money to spend it without really contemplating if it is worth it to them. No point in spending money if you don't have to! Honestly, most of my "fun" money goes towards race registrations and running shoes, which obviously would not be worth it to most people but is important to me! That being said, I do say no to races due to costs because they can get expensive.
  8. When I do travel, I travel cheap. I am a big fan of Air B & B apartments/houses as opposed to hotels (more space and you can cook), taking my own snacks with me as opposed to eating out the entire trip, and finding deals ahead of time. I am smart with flight tracking and try to stay with people when I am going to an area where I know someone. I also typically use my same principles of frugal living when I do travel and only spend money on things I really want to. I walk as many places as possible, and I don't buy things when I go places- I am there for the experience and not the things that are there. I like taking pictures and making albums or framing photos when I return. I am also a big believer in traveling in groups where you can save on expenses a little easier.
  9. I am single with no kids. I know that I am in a place in life where I CAN travel. I am just worrying/taking care of myself, so it is much easier for me to budget for traveling at this point in my life. I am in school again, but as I have said before, I live well under my means, so I am paying for school out of pocket as well. This is limiting my trips more than I would like, but I am still able to do and see what I like with proper planning.I also turn work conferences into mini-trips, too! I am headed to Philadelphia in the fall and Montreal next spring for "school!" :)
  10. Travel is my priority. When you really want to do something, you make it happen. I am also super lame 99% of my life when I am not traveling, so keep that in mind! I believe in living in accordance to what is important to you and not judging those who do it differently. Most of my friends are understanding of my frugal principles and those who do say I am "cheap" are not my best friends anyways. I only offer my financial advice if they ask it, but otherwise I do me:)
Cheers to free coffee at work and the end of the semester!

Some other small things I do to save are: do all my errands in one day or on the way home from work so I am not wasting gas, walk/ride bikes when I can, use craigslist for furniture, buy books second hand online (I do this for textbooks), keep my house at a reasonable temperature to save on heating/cooling (65 in the winter, 78 in the summer), have only Netflix instead of cable, do my cell phone policy with Republic Wireless ($25 per month!), buy in season at the grocery store (and buy extra when my normal stuff have deals), do my own nails, get my hair cut at work and only a few times a year (yay Cosmetology students!) and use minimal hair/facial products (less is more!). 

How do you save for travel? Do you feel jealous when you see people all over social media going places?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Upcoming

Life has been very exciting so far this year! From marathon training to school to various travels...I have had a great few months! I am excited to see more fun continuing as I head into summer, too. Here are some of my "upcoming's":

1. School ends...and starts again! My last class date of this semester is next Wednesday, April 29th! This semester has felt longer than the fall, not necessarily because of more work, but I think the winter tends to make everything feel longer. My classes went great (I only have a presentation separating me from being totally done), and I am still loving being in school. Working with the master's level students this semester has been SO great. It has reaffirmed that this is the right path for me.

I don't get much of a break, though, because on May 18th I start TWO summer school classes...

I am co-teaching a 5 week course (Secondary Counseling Seminar) for my teaching internship experience that runs Tuesday and Thursday's from 4-8:15. I will also be planning, grading and getting supervised for this course. I have already begun planning, though, and I a super-excited about teaching it! I think it will be a lot of fun and up my area. The class ends June 18th, though I will need to log hours and work on updating the course for next year until I get to 300 hours. Hopefully the slow summer days at my job will allow me time to do that!

My name isn't listed yet...but for a course next fall it will be!
During this time, I also am taking a statistic course (the first of many) Monday and Wednesday's from 4-6:40. This course should be easy, but taking it means that for 5 weeks I am at VCU Monday- Thursday. UGH. Those will be long weeks, but I am hopeful it will be over before I know it! The statistics course runs until July 9th. That is when I reward myself with a nice trip!

2. Traveling.  I have been traveling a lot the last month or so and more is coming! I am headed to Chicago May 1-4 with my brother, sister-in-law, and her twin sister. My whole family is going to Cincinnati to celebrate my grandmother's 95th birthday over Memorial Day weekend, and then my mom and I (along with some college friends and their families) are headed to Vancouver, Seattle, and a cruise to Alaska (!) in July. I am SO PUMPED about that trip- it'll be a full two weeks! To cap it all off, I am going to the Outer Banks again for a full week in August. Mixed in will be weekend/day trips to/from D.C. and Virginia Beach visiting friends for weddings and bridal showers, but those are the big ones! I am looking forward to them all.

The dunes of OBX!
3. Running. There is always something in the works with my running plans! I am not racing anymore this spring, but I am going to join the training team program we have in Richmond for the Richmond Marathon in November. Training officially starts the first weekend in June, but I will only go as it fits in my schedule throughout the summer. Once September hits I will start going weekly and really up my training. I also may do a local half marathon in August to kick-start my training. I am looking forward to being a part of a big training program and running a marathon that literally goes by my backdoor! :)

The last .1 of a hilly end to a half marathon...
Those are the main three things coming up for me! I will be busy, but it's all in a good way! 
What are your upcoming plans this summer?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Flying Pirate Half Marathon

Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend.

I went to one of my favorite places this weekend- the Outer Banks- to run the Flying Pirate Half Marathon! I stayed in my friend's parent's beach house in Corolla and enjoyed a day of relaxing and beach walking before the race!

My happy place.
After a glorious Saturday of sunny (albeit slightly cool) weather and a GREAT carb-loading dinner, we woke up at about 5:45 AM to get ready and head to the race for the 7 AM start time!

Selfie at the starting line!
Ready to go!

Well-organized start with about 3,000 runners.
The course was mainly flat and ran through neighborhoods, the sound side of the island (lots of pretty beach houses to look at), around the Wright Brothers Memorial/Air Field and into trails in the woods. The trails and wooded area definitely slowed me down because of the uneasiness of my footing on some of the rocks/gravel and the hills! The last .75 mile was up and down trails in a wooded area and it was HARD. I kept thinking the hills were done and more kept coming. It reminded me of the Richmond Turkey Trot, but at that point I knew the end was near. When you leave the wooded area you go into a .1 mile downhill to the finish line, so that was good!


I haven't done much long-distance running since the marathon besides a 10-miler two weeks ago, and I knew I had some lingering tendon issues in my lower right leg. I went into this race with no expectations, but I knew I could easily PR since my running has gotten faster. I started the race with an 8:35 pace and hit the 10k spot at a good time. I knew I was on pace to PR, but I wasn't feeling GREAT the whole race- I could tell my body was tired. After halfway, I was really starting to feel the aches in my hips, knees and lower right leg. It was nothing awful, just body soreness. I slowed down gradually from then on out and my aches never got worse and would flow in and out. In the end, I still managed a 3 minute PR on a hard course!

My results! This was while the race was still going on, so the total number of runners and females grew. The race had about 3,000 finishers and my age group ended up being about 250. Being ranked 18th in my age group was awesome!
After the race, we hit up the post race party for food, cider (!), and an awesome band! My friend's uncle and aunt lived right at the end of the race course, so we had even more food there, and I got to shower before taking the bus back to where we parked our cars.

Post-race FOOD and BOOZE!

Finishers!

Finish line from her uncle and aunt's house (a few hours later...)
Overall, the race was good! Not my favorite race ever (I could have used more water stops), but the weather was perfect- not too hot or cold and slightly overcast- and the finish line party was great! For now I think I am taking a break from racing until the late summer or fall. I have done 4 races since January and all have been PR's, so I think a little resting is in order before marathon training season begins!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Workouts (4/6- 4/19)

Running mileage stayed pretty low the past two weeks due to a slight injury. I am feeling really good with the distance, though, overall. I think my sweet spot is 4-5 miles per run a few days a week:) I also am enjoying the sunrises in the morning.

4/6- 4/12

Monday: 40 minute elliptical ->I am self-diagnosing myself with peroneal tendinitis. Even the elliptical bothered me (abs).

Tuesday: 40 minutes elliptical + 2.5 mile wall (weights)

Wednesday: 3.7 treadmill miles (abs). Lower leg felt slightly better.

Thursday: Rest- travel day! Walked around the Atlanta airport and at the beach!

Friday: 4.3 @ 9:18 (arms). Leg felt OK.

Saturday: 3.1 @ 9:40 (abs). Semi- hungover and humid run, and my leg still felt off but not awful.

Sunday:Rest- travel day! More airport walking though:) Long layovers need to be productive.

Total: 11.1 miles

4/13-4/19

Monday: 4 miles @ 9:16 (arms/weights)

Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9: 22 (abs)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 miles @ 9:22 (arms/weights)

Friday: 4 miles @ 9:30 (abs)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Flying Pirate Half Marathon: 1:55:57-> PR!

Total: 29.1 miles

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This may be illegal, but...

I am attaching some recent race photos that I am way to cheap to actually purchase. These also may be illegal to put online, so if it is please let me know and this post will go away!

Right around the halfway point of the marathon!


Chatting with this guy around mile 15 who had run the 8k the day before, the half marathon that morning, and was now doing the full! He put it all into perspective. Crazy.



Marathon Mile 21ish...such a fake smile/wave. I was not feeling great here.



Almost at the finish line! Trying to look for my peeps!

Crossing the finish line!



Start of the Monument 10k...I promise I wear other shirts when I run but this was for a big Massey fundraiser!



This is one of my favorites. I look stealth. HA.


Finished! Pumped at my PR. I like that you can see my hat really clearly here.



Do you ever buy race photos? Am I going to jail with these?!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Silent Sunday from St. Augustine, Florida




















Awesome weather, awesome Air B&B house, awesome people, and an awesome wedding! Weekends with these friends show how as much as things change, so much stays the same. Congrats to Brandy and Dustin!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekly Workouts (3/23-4/5)

Now that marathon training is over, my workout intensities have decreased, but I have still been getting a lot of movement in. My muscles feel back to normal, but unfortunately a tendon issue has developed in my ankle:(

3/23- 3/39

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 30 minute elliptical (weights)

Friday: 3 treadmill miles (abs)

Saturday: 6.2 miles @ 8:03 (Monument 10k- PR!) (weights)

Sunday: 3.5 miles @ 9:18 (abs)

Total: 12.7 miles


3/30- 4/5

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9:15 (weights)

Wednesday: 35 minutes elliptical (abs)

Thursday: 4.55 miles @ 9:00 (weights)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 10.2 miles @  8:58 (abs)-> outside ankle issue developing...

Sunday: 3.1 miles @ 8:52 (weights)-> ankle pain:( I had to ice after.

Total: 21.85 miles


I am starting to do more early morning runs as it gets a little warmer in the afternoon and lighter earlier! 

Anyone else enjoy the earlier sunrises? How were your workouts the last few weeks?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Adventures in Dating

Spring is here and life is good!

Image result for spring quote

Anyone else loving this weather in Virginia? Cool mornings and warm afternoons is my perfect weather happy place. However, I feel like it keeps me so much busier! Due to better temperatures, I have had something after work every night, and acceptance letters went out for courses at my school this week, so work has been go-go-go! It has made the week go by fast for sure, but I also feel like my brain has been mush at the end of some days.

One of the main reasons I have been so busy has also had to do with going on a lot of dates. I am trying to put myself back out there after taking a little bit of time off due to school, running and sickness. Especially now that the weather is getting better, I have more motivation to go out and socialize because I don't feel like I have to stay in a huddle under a blanket all day every day!

Dating is...an experience. I go on more dates than most of my friends, so I have lots of stories. Most dates are actually not bad, but that is the issue. It is hard to tell someone you don't particularly want to go out with them again when the date was enjoyable. However, I have been on enough dates to know that I don't want to waste my time going out with people time and time again when the spark isn't there. So it takes a lot for me to get to a 2nd date and even more to get to a 3rd. I dated a guy this past winter for about 8 weeks and we got to probably 10 or so dates. That was a big step for me. It didn't work out, which is for the best, but I learned a lot more about myself and how to approach dating from the experience, ESPECIALLY when to go with your gut. Gotta take lessons from every situation!

Meeting guys in your late 20's is interesting and not ideal. I meet guys from a variety of avenues: work, online and mutual friends. Ideally I would love to meet someone and get to know him in the context of having mutual interests where we see each other frequently, like at work, school or running, and get to know each other as friends first. Unfortunately, more often than not, I am getting to know them while we are going on dates. I think this is the new wave of dating in the 21st century. This makes the situation difficult because you have to make decisions quicker than you normally would. I feel guilty going out and having money spent on me when I am unsure of my feelings. I typically think coffee is a great safe bet for a first meeting, and then I always keep things cheap on my end for the subsequent dates unless he does something more elaborate. I offer to pay typically after date two or if I am not feeling it anymore. 

I have never told a guy in person that I don't want to see him again (though I really should and have some friends who do that!), however, I will do it via phone. I think it is acceptable via text after one or two dates, but after that needs to be done in person or through a phone call. I find that most guys appreciate the honesty and there are no hard feelings. Occasionally the memo is not gotten...and I have a funny story about that. I typically do not give my phone number out until I meet someone in person and do not friend them on social media until I know more about them and am more serious. If things don't work out, I will de-friend or keep them only if we are friendly. Rarely do I keep them though...not to be blunt, but I don't need more friends:)

Image result for ecard i would go on dates but i am happy at home watching tv

Dating takes a lot of energy, which is why I go on spurts and then take breaks. Sometimes I do just want to sit at home and watch TV rather than go out and meet people, and that's ok .I do not put pressure on myself to make something work or feel like I HAVE to be dating all the time, because I am very happy with my life. I don't have a plan for where I need to be in 5 or 10 years...I am doing what I want, when I want, and if I meet someone, that's great, but if I don't, that's fine too. My  network of friends and activities keep me very fulfilled. I have learned that not having a life plan or expectations makes it all so much more enjoyable. I don't feel like I have to be married or have children to be happy or to give my life meaning, so that takes a lot of pressure off of dating. My biological clock isn't ticking, and I am not unhappy alone. Life is good, and I only want someone to come into it who will enhance it. I think that is why I am so "picky," but I don't believe that is a bad thing at all. 

Happiness is nothing to be ashamed of:)