Here’s the deal, team. Every Thanksgiving I write my obligatory “what I’m thankful for post” and every year, I vow to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving. And every year, at least once, someone tells me to stop saying “thank you” because I’m borderline excessive when giving thanks (and saying please). So, without looking too far into it, I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with gratitude.
But holy fucking shit, y’all. I have been blown away by the generosity that the community around me has shown since I took a little tumble in December. And I’m not just talking about those of you who have chipped in to help me with the medical bills, physical therapy, and bought those ridiculous pens to help me get back in the tunnel. Well, I am talking about you, but not just the money part. I’m talking about every single person, who, in one way or another, took a few moments out of their busy days to hear me out. Whether your way of doing so was clicking the “Chip In” button, visit the office at Skydive Elsinore, shoot me a text, give me a call, or just post up next to me on a picnic table to hear what was happening, I see it. And I appreciate all of you more than you’ll ever know.
I’m a big believer in that the positive energy you put out there will come back full circle, and it has. And for each and every one of you, it will, if it hasn’t already.
Today is a milestone of sorts. Since December 11, I haven’t done much as it pertains to skydiving, with the exception of putting on events at the Skydive Elsinore that I wanted desperately to participate in. Today, however, I fly in the tunnel for the first time since my accident. I have spent the past three weeks in physical therapy a couple times a week, and at my session on Friday, my super sweet physical therapist said “yeah, you could probably think about getting in the tunnel next week.”
Music to my ears, peeps.
So yeah, today is awesome for me of course, but today is more about you guys. I couldn’t do what I do when I’m at “work” if you didn’t jump here. I couldn’t do what I do on my days off (read: side-hustle days for 3Ring Media and super special couple time with the boy) if you weren’t in need of some kind of service that 3Ring Media can offer. I would still write here if it was only my mom and my boyfriend that read this blog, but the community of readers here is spectacular, and I couldn’t foster those relationships if there weren’t any people to have relationships with.
So today, I thank you. All of you. For being part of my life, in whatever capacity you are a part of it. I wouldn’t be here without you. Seriously.
On a lighter note, obviously I’ll try to post video of my tunnel session tonight. I’ve been visualizing greatness like a madman, and I’m thinking that my time off may have been exactly what I needed to lose the bad flying habits I brought with me here. Today is a clean slate for my skydiving career.
Hearts, sparkles, rainbows and unicorns, peeps. Lots of that.
And in case you were wondering what kind of awesome 4-way has been filling my dreams, this is what I’m talking about. Holy. Shit.
In case you aren’t friends with me on Facebook, you probably missed the Great Valentine’s Day Hoax of 2012. Which, as it turns out, is probably a good thing.
Let me explain.
Around dinner time on Valentine’s Day, after a couple glasses of wine, I got the bright idea to change my relationship status from blank (the boy and I aren’t Facebook official) to engaged. Within seconds, I’m not kidding, SECONDS, there were 14 likes and a handful of comments. This was going to be awesome or horrible.
I don’t comment. I just stare in disbelief at my phone as it explodes and the battery starts to drain because of all the Facebook notifications.
We go out to dinner, and my friend Brandi is in town from Florida. We’re celebrating her first skydive, and it turns out that she has a ring on from her mom. A cool little “quarter carat for a quarter life” gift, and I ask her if I can borrow it. Barry and I take a cheesy ass picture with our hands all intertwined in newly-fake-engaged bliss and post it. If you had been at the table with us, you’d know that we are peeing our pants and the boy is convulsing because he’s laughing so hard as he’s kissing my cheek.
We go through the rest of the meal enjoying each other’s company, and see a car with a Nevada license plate parked next to us. So we take another picture by the license plate. More comments. More likes. People asking if we’re going to Vegas.
At this point I just want to call the whole thing off. I have cold feet about our fake engagement. I feel bad that so many people are happy and celebrating something that we just don’t plan on doing.
Here’s the thing. My parents are happily married. They have been for 30+ years. All I’ve ever wanted is to have the kind of love that they have. They’re best friends, lovers, and amazing parents. My one goal in life, despite what I’ve wanted for myself professionally, is to find a love like they have.
And I have found that kind of love.
The boy is everything I could want in a boyfriend/husband/partner/best friend (or whatever label you want to put on it). He is my best friend, my rock, my knight in shining armor, all of that. And we’ve talked about it. If he wanted to ask me to marry him, I’d say yes. And that he could throw a life saver or an onion ring on my finger and I’d be just fine with that. I’ve known that since we first started dating. But we also talked about how we don’t need the whole procedure to make this work. He can sign my logbook and that’s as official as I need it to be.
I’m not opposed to it in the sense that I think marriage is a joke, necessarily, I’ll give the marriage thing the benefit of the doubt on this one (that really is a different conversation for another day). I appreciate couples that have amazing relationships, and I know a lot of people who are, or appear to be, happy in their marriages. I’ve also seen the act of getting married ruin a perfectly good non-married relationship. Like a switch goes on and everything changes. That’s how it was with the boy’s first marriage. He’s experienced it first hand. And to be honest with you, I think the reason we work, the reason we’re so good together and so happy and so sparkly and unicorn-ey and amazing together is because we don’t label it. For the sake of talking, yes, he’s my boyfriend. But seriously, guys, we’ve already talked about being married. We’re kind of already married in our heads, in that we’re totally and completely batshit crazy in love with each other and committed to making that work.
I’m not interested in taking the chance of something going horribly wrong if we made it legally legit. I’m usually not afraid of change, in fact, I’m a huge advocate for change, but in this case, if it ain’t broke (and it isn’t), I don’t want to “fix” it. We have an incredible relationship, and if you have met us and seen us together, you probably want to puke in your mouth because we’re ridiculously adorable together.
And that’s just it. To us, the marriage thing is just a label. A piece of paper. I don’t want to piss anyone off because they think I’m mocking people who get all excited about marriage and the ceremony and everything that comes with it. But, I also feel like I’m being judged because we are perfectly happy together without rings and certificates and ceremonies.
I realize I’m an odd duck. I’ve never visualized my perfect dream wedding. I’ve always said if I get married, it will be on a beach or outside somewhere and people better not be dressing up because I sure as shit won’t be wearing a dress. I don’t want to have kids and I don’t hear my biological clock ticking loudly in the background of this happy relationship I’m in. I’m strange. So be it.
I also know that things change. Sometimes, out of nowhere, people who have been together for awhile with no intention of marrying get married. I’m not saying it won’t happen someday. I also know that I’ve cried wolf on getting engaged so if it ever DOES happen, there will be five people that give a shit and the rest of you will think I’m joking again. And while I’d love to think that everyone would be happy and excited and show that enthusiasm for us if that’s the route we ended up taking, I know that the Great Valentine’s Day Hoax of 2012 has ruined that reaction for a lot of people. I get it.
So, or those of you who ARE friends with one or both of us on Facebook and were part of the whole thing, I apologize if us posting that we were engaged and then saying we weren’t offended you in some way. My friend Becky is pretty wise, and when I asked her why it would piss people off, she laid it out pretty clearly for me:
People who love and care about you guys see you two always talking about/showing how happy you are together. People want to believe that love stories like yours end in marriage. And when you post that you’re engaged and don’t make it obvious that it’s a joke right away and people get all excited for you and then you’re all like “jk weirdos, obviously you dont’ know us at all” it makes people 1. feel stupid 2. feel angry that you take the issue of engagement/marr
iage as such a joke when many of them believe in it strongly and 3. feel annoyed that you guys think it’s funny that people “don’t know you very well”
I did the same thing on April Fool’s Day and nobody was pissed when it wasn’t true. So I’m all “why the hell is everyone mad because it’s on Valentine’s Day – you know he wouldn’t propose on Valentine’s Day.” Becky pointed out that April Fools was obvious (okay, but honestly, him proposing at all is more likely on April Fool’s than Valentine’s Day but I digress) and that this was after we moved to Elsinore.
…and you were still happy and sparkly back then, but it wasn’t like the gold medal glitter shower celebration parade from the unicorn and teddy bear happiness olympics you seem to be living now. For those playing along at home, it seems like maybe you guys finally feel “settled” somewhere. So i can see how many feel it is a reasonable next step.
Touche, Becky, touche.
At the end of the day, I know this: I love him very, very, very much. More than I’ve ever thought I was capable of loving. I love our friends that know us and know that it was fake and laughed about it because they know us very, very well. I apologize to our friends that didn’t know it was a joke, got excited, and then probably felt like we were complete assholes for claiming “you should have known better.” I love my parents for understanding our relationship and not pressuring us to get married and squeeze out some grandchildren. They know that’s not how we roll.
Love is a funny thing. And it’s most certainly different for everyone who experiences it. And while our fairytale may not end the way little girls all over the world dream of, I certainly couldn’t have dreamed up a better life for myself, or for us.
For the married peeps out there, are we total assholes? What is the secret to making your marriage work? For the non-wed folks out there, or people in happy relationships with no desire to marry, same question – what do you do to keep things working and amazing?
And how many of you have de-friended me on Facebook because of this? Be honest.
Welcome to the new version of SydneyOwen.com. A little bit of Sydney: Unfiltered. A little bit of 3Ring Media. And, coming soon in the new year, a little bit of foodporn for your palate.
I’ve been thinking about a redesign for awhile. I was rocking a tumblr for 3Ring Media for a bit. Then I kinda forgot about it. I wanted to start a food blog but, to be honest, I don’t have the time, equipment, or money to do anything extravagant like some of my awesome foodblogger or food photographer friends. I wanted something with more graphics, the capability to have a sweet portfolio, and something that wasn’t just straight up blog action. With this new layout, I can toy around with promoting 3Ring a little bit better, and keep the Unfiltered blog content here as well, since that’s where all of my Google juice comes from.
This is a work in progress, as I’m getting back into Photoshop and tinkering with WordPress and code and formatting stuff. Basically, I’m rolling the 3Ring tumblr page, all things Unfiltered and Instagram, which I use primarily to take pictures of the dog and food, into one happy place on the internet.
Thanks for being here – if I’m not mistaken, this is redesign number three.
Cheers to a new look for a new year!
And, because this is a work in progress, if you notice anything funky, let me know. I know there are a bunch of old blog posts that don’t have the featured image set up, but besides that, is there anything wonky? Anything you see that looks inconsistent? Keep in mind I’m not a designer by any means, so be easy on those kind of critiques, but let me know what you think!
Loyalty, similar to earning respect, is a two-way street.
I wrote about loyalty to your employer almost a year ago to the day, after my first day at WCG in Austin. In that post, I gave three tips on how to rock at being loyal while you’re with a company, saying that the whole loyalty thing starts the day you’re hired and ends the day you leave.
I’d like to amend that to say “loyalty starts the day you’re hired, and can continue well beyond the day you leave.”
Allow me to elaborate.
If there’s one thing that I pride myself on, it’s that I pour my heart and soul into everything I do. Sometimes to the point of burnout because when I’m on, I’m on, and there’s really no stopping it. And until something bright and shiny comes along and shows me that I am missing out on a really sweet opportunity to grow, or that I should really should make time for myself and my well being, I’m all yours. That much is true: when you have me, you have me. And when you don’t, and I snap out of the “going balls to the wall” phase, in the instance of employment, I tend to give as much notice as humanly possible, wrap things up in a pretty bow, and present a beautiful document that is essentially “how to be Sydney” at whatever organization I am departing.
In the instance of relationships, it’s pretty much the same, but with less burnout. For the people in my life, especially those in the inner circle – immediate family, boyfriend, best friends – I give 110% to that relationship. I do this with hobbies, I did it with sports growing up… I guess it’s just kinda how I roll.
Back to the employment side, I don’t know if it’s just another wave of “all my friends are leaving for a new position” or if it’s a seasonal thing or what, but I’ve heard a lot of grumbling lately. People that have been with a company for a year, or three, or ten, are experiencing this cold shoulder from people who used to sing their praises. I’m sure it’s not exclusive to my network, but really, what the fuck is up with that?
It’s happened to me. I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t. Maybe you have been in the same scenario: You give this job your EVERYTHING, every fiber of your passion, time, and well-being. You give it your brain power, you strive to make the environment awesome, you bring your A-game to every meeting, every project that you touch, everything. And then one day, it’s just not as awesome as it used to be. Perhaps you stumble across a new opportunity. Or maybe you were actively looking for a new direction, a new way to grow. You let your employer know that you’re considering another opportunity or that you’ve accepted that opportunity. You say “I am happy to help you transition this work the best I can” and you mean it. And all hell breaks loose. Or, conversely, your world goes silent. Nobody talks to you. Maybe a handful of people are excited for you, but you have a hard time distinguishing if they’re excited because you’re not a threat to their world anymore or if they genuinely like you.
Which comes to the two-way street thing. Loyalty to an employer doesn’t end when you quit. Chances are you still like that place, for some reason or another. Maybe it was your first real job. Maybe you had some mentors there. Maybe it’s just the people in general. Whatever it is, chances are you know people who are looking for jobs or for places to go or for people to work with on certain projects. Whatever that company has to offer, you will probably be in a situation someday where someone asks what you think of that company. How they handle your departure could make or break that recommendation.
Disclaimer: For the sake of the rest of this post, I’m using the ultimate awesome employee as an example. This person is on. They get it. They’re rocking the house. They’re well-liked by their peers and colleagues, for the most part, and are a value to the team. They work hard, and they work above and beyond their job description. Then, they decide to move on. To an opportunity they would be stupid to turn down. They give plenty of notice. This decision doesn’t come lightly because there is A LOT that they like about the current job, but they want MORE. That’s who I’m talking about. I’m not talking about some slacker-ass entitled kid who thinks they deserve the world and do little to prove that they do, and then they quit, badmouth everyone in the process and give no notice. I’m talking about the ideal, angelic, advocate of an employee.
That said, think about it.
Scenario A: You’re the awesome employee described in the disclaimer above. When you come to the point where it’s time for you to move onward and upward and take that next step in your career, they handle it with grace. They’re disappointed that you’re leaving but excited for the opportunity for you to grow beyond what they could provide. Maybe they even say “how can we help YOU?”
Scenario B: You’re the awesome employee described in the disclaimer above. When it comes to the point for you to move onward and upward, they turn a shoulder. Now that you aren’t working for them and contributing to the business, they’re done with you. Finish up what you’re working on and we’ll see you later. Thanks but no thanks.
In the case of Scenario B, I get that there may be underlying issues behind the urgency to get said person up and out of there. Perhaps you’re going to a competitor. It makes sense to expedite things, but not to be complete douchecanoes about the person leaving. So, I understand the mechanics behind it.
But really, do you think the person in Scenario A or Scenario B would be more likely to recommend their former employer? Say you used to work at the best pizza shop in town. You decide to leave and take a totally different direction, and now you’re going to be working at a toy store. A colleague at your new job is craving pizza and mentions your old employer in a list of pizza shops. Does hearing the name of the place you used to work leave a bad taste in your mouth? Sure, they may be good at what they do, but does the way you were treated when you left make you want to call up and reminisce with old colleagues or do you want to recommend a different pizza shop?
Loyalty goes beyond who is signing your paycheck and how well you’re doing the job while you’re there. It doesn’t stop when you leave work at the end of the day, and it doesn’t stop when you quit that job. In a world that is largely reliant on word-of-mouth recommendations, be it a college grad looking for that super sweet internship, a brand rep looking for their next firm, or even someone trying to decide where to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, it doesn’t stop once you stop working.
In the event that 3Ring Media ever has employees, I solemnly swear to not be an asshole* to people that decide to leave because they’re chasing their dream. If they are leaving because they are coming from a place of passion for what they do and this next opportunity would be something they’d be stupid to turn down, I can’t be mad at that, because that is how I’ve lived my life since the day I was able to consciously make my own decisions. My first question to them, after asking if there’s anything I can do to make their job better at 3Ring, would be, “What can I do to help you with your next chapter?” and make it crystalfuckingclear that I support them 100%.
People come and go. Some are great employees, some suck the life out of the joint. But at the end of the day, are you keeping an advocate or are you leaving a bad taste in their mouth? Don’t be an asshat. It sucks when great people leave, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to be friendly through it all, and try to maintain the relationships as best you can.
What does loyalty mean to you? What have your experiences been like when you leave a job?
*I’m not saying my former employers were assholes. I’m just swearing that I won’t be one.
I’m tired of being fat.
Okay, rewind. I’m tired of being squishy. I know by any definition of how fat America is that I’m not obese or anything, but medically speaking, I’m pretty sure I’m close, and to be honest, I’m tired of watching the number on the scale increase. It’s been doing it since I moved to Chicago in 2009. Slowly, but surely, the number is climbing. Maybe it’s all the (bad) food options, maybe it’s the fact that I don’t need to be swimsuit ready at all times because I’m not living on the water in Tampa anymore… maybe it’s a combination of complacency and an overall lack of time management skills, but I’ve had it.
I’m tired of joking that if I lose the weight I want to lose, I’ll have to downsize my skydiving gear, and downsizing is expensive. When I have to get my jumpsuit tailored, that is money I’ll be happy to spend. Or I’ll just fly with a baggy suit. Whatever. If I need a new canopy sooner than I had anticipated, then I need to stop looking at that as a problem and look at it as a measure of success.
I had a moment this past weekend in front of the mirror and I was actually disgusted. Then I watched Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition and I figured if a 445 lb woman can lose 180 lbs in a year, I can lose what I want to lose in the time frame I want to lose it in. What’s worse (or better) is that I’ve done it before. I did it when I was 22 and I can do it again.
If you know anything about me I’m pretty hip with the whole “you gotta love yourself and trust yourself before you can love or trust anyone else” mantra. I am confident in my skills as a professional, gaining confidence in my skills as a business owner, a skydiver and a canopy pilot, but when it comes to the whole body image thing, I’m not lovin what I’m seein’.
So, I figured what better way to hold myself accountable than to profess my desperation for my old self right here for the whole world to see.
I work really hard every day at being the best me I can be professionally, as a girlfriend, as a sister, as a daughter and as a friend. And I’d say that compared to where I was the last time I felt comfortable in my own skin, I’ve come a million miles. I use the year I was 23, right before I moved to Chicago, as my “dream self” as far as physical appearance goes. I had a trainer, I was eating right, things were good. I didn’t have my shit together personally as far as school and a career and friends and stuff was concerned, but I looked hot doing what I was doing.
Now, I can say that I’m doing way better at the personal stuff, I’ve successfully started my own company, I’m chasing dreams that are important for me to chase, I’ve got an amazing family (I did back then but still), I’ve got a handful of amazing friends and an incredible man in my life who is 100% supportive of everything I do. But I’ve let the physical side slide. No more.
I want to lose 30 pounds in my “Phase 1″ of my “transformation” to be the best me I can, physically. I’ve never been about the number on the scale as much as I have been about how I feel, but I know that 30 pounds is something I can do and I know that around that number, I feel pretty fucking fantastic.
Now, I’m meeting with a doctor on the 8th to do all the labs and stuff and make sure that I’m doing this the right way. In college, my roommates were all hopped up on diet pills and crazy diets that consisted of only protein shakes and every once in awhile, a solid meal. I dabbled in all of it. But what worked was having a trainer, eating clean, and getting into a sustainable routine. When I go at this by myself, I go balls-to-the-wall and then I burn out. Not this time. I’m young enough to get this shit figured out while I can before I turn into a whale.
So what actually happens in Phase 1 will be up to the doctor, but I’m going into that appointment with goals to lose substantial pounds before we go back to Florida in December. Plenty of time to do it correctly, safely and as healthily as possible.
I don’t ask a lot of the community here but I ask, for the love of all things holy and deep fried, please hold me accountable. I want to blog about this weekly and share my progress and what I’m learning and what is working for me and what isn’t. Please please please get on my ass if I start slacking.
I know this has been a bit of a trend among a few of us lately – so what are you doing to get to where you want to be, physically? I know everyone is different, but what is working for you? Any tools you’d like to share?