Tuesday, February 5, 2013

because we can.

Flashback to the summer of 2006. It was my first summer truly away from home, graduated from college and completely on my own and diving head first into the big ocean of job-hunting. In an apartment in the heart of downtown Chicago, I lived with three of my best girlfriends- two of them had just graduated like me and were also on the prowl for jobs.

But what I remember most about those days were not the hours of searching for jobs online or the writing up of resumes or even the waiting period that followed the job interviews. What I remember where the late nights and mornings - when we stayed up watching seasons of Lost or Alias or chick flicks and then go to bed, sleeping in till nine and then roll out of bed and make a group trip to the gym. After the workout, we headed back to our apartment to pour ourselves another bowl of cereal (which might have been dinner the night before since it's the easiest and cheapest thing to eat next to ramen noodles), shower and get dressed for whatever the day might bring.

Since most days were not filled with our cell phones ringing off the hook from some Human Resource rep, we headed out the door to lay out at the Michigan Lake Beach or hang out at our favorite Starbucks on Rush St. We bought iced coffee from Starbucks or indulged in vanilla ice-cream cones at Mickey Dee's, the more affordable items on the menus. There were many afternoons where we did a lot of window shopping. No money to spend on clothes but hey, who said we couldn't play dress-up? We also walked everywhere in the city so our purses or totes bags were filled with everything we would need for the afternoon away from the apartment. And then often on the way back from our afternoon city adventures, we would make stops to the grocery store and with three of us, our arms and fingers would become chiseled and toned (and raw!) from the plastic bags and tote bags over our shoulders that we carried all the way home.

After checking our phones or emails for any job updates, we would start dinner, blasting the radio or ipods to some Shakira or John Mayer. I remember those evenings were filled with a lot of laughter - the kind of laughter where we would be on the floor rolling and tears streaming down our faces - and then we'd calm down and someone would repeat the joke and we'd all be on the floor laughing all over again. Once we calmed down, we'd set our coffee table with our plates and utensils and everybody would find their place, whether floor or couch and we'd continue our chit-chat about the boys in our lives, the jobs we hoped to find, travel dreams and what we would buy with our first paycheck over our somewhat home-cooked meal (if not a bowl of cereal or noodles). Then once we threw all the dishes into the dishwasher and the leftovers covered in foil and placed in the fridge, we would grab our books we were reading, journals, and our bags and invade another Starbucks (most like the one on Rush St. again) to read the evening away or to people watch or just to chit-chat all over again.

Though we post-graduated girls had little money and did not know where we would be in a couple of months (the lurking fear of making my home in the streets sometimes popped into my head on occasion especially when I heard nothing back from an employer), I remember how full and comforting those days were being with that tight-knit group of girlfriends.

I remember one of my roommates said, We are living the lives of movie stars if you think about it. We stay up as late as we want and get up when we want to. Our days are filled with working out and running around our favorite city - because we can.

And she was right. That perspective stuck with me all summer long - even on the hard days when my roommates got jobs before me and I was alone in the apartment or alone at that Starbucks on Rush. I told myself, Before long, you'll be missing this. 

And I did. I was very grateful when it was my turn to land the full-time job and start a new season of life, but there was a part of me that wished I enjoyed that season even more instead of worrying about the what if's or the next steps. It hit me pretty hard in the face how much I wish I savored those late nights and early mornings - for instance, when the alarm clock blared loudly at 5:30 in the morning or when I forced myself to go to bed at 9:00pm instead of 1:00am.

So why did I mention all of this? Because all of those memories flooded back as I sat journaling over the weekend, thinking and praying over where God is directing me and Ryan. Sure, we are loving and relishing this season that we share right now. After two years of being long-distance, being together is what is important and what matters to both of us. But then there are thoughts that start creeping in like worry, fear or uncertainty and those lurking thoughts start to show their ugly heads.

And then there is a part of me saying, Live and do what you want now - because we can. Of course, we will continue to job hunt and seek God for His will in our lives, but my younger self reminded me what a gift it is that we have now - to enjoy life together as husband and wife with all of the little things: being able to cook every meal together, working out in the mornings, watching movies and discussing tv theories in the middle of the afternoon instead of fighting to stay awake over some office job, and staying up and sleeping in however late or however early, dreaming and laughing and to continue to grow in our dependence on our loving God which is what I know God was doing even during that post-grad summer years ago.

To live and love life and do what we want to do - because we can.

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}


  1. this is such a great post ilene! love these posts from your heart! :)

    Sandy a la Mode

  2. Replies
    1. they really are - i have to keep reminding myself that! :)

  3. aww ilene, this is beautiful! i imagined all of this right along with you - it is so funny how we worry or wish away some of the best times and then wish we had them back! it is such a growing process, but i am proud that you are able to know that in the midst of another waiting time right now! in reality, this whole life is a waiting game for the glories of Heaven! i hope you and your man love it. these days are what romcoms are made of - snuggles, movies, meals and most of all being together!! :)

    xo dilyn

    1. you are so sweet! thanks for this comment, friend. you are so right!

  4. Definitely remember similar days with my college buddies. Oh the sweet memories. So often we worry, wondering what God has in store next, and forget to cherish the fleeting moments. Thanks for the reminder :)

    1. you are welcome. i need to keep reminding myself this, too. thanks, meg. :)

  5. Love this post Ate Ilene, this is so 'YOU'. I love reading and knowing your life. You don't know how you encourage me through your life. One thing that reminds me today is that GOD has many wonderful plans for those who truly follow and trust His will. :)

    1. i love that we can stay in touch through blogging, lhen! love you!

  6. ahhh, such a sweet and thoughtful post. relish in it - you never know when you won't have the time :).

  7. This is such an inspiring blog post! :) It´s so nice that you have so many nice memories!

    Have a great day!


  8. This was a well written post. I loved reading it. Usually don't read long post on other blogs, but I'm really glad I read this post. Very inspiring. Kinda relates to my life right now. And reminds me that I should value these days of unemployment and enjoy these days doing whatever I want and enjoying them.
    Thanks for this post :)

  9. SUCH a great post!! One I can relate to in so many ways. These hectic days, I sometimes long for those days a few years back when I too was living 'the life of a movie star', especially when I hear my boys waking up at 6am. But, as you've said here, every moment is to be enjoyed. I know it won't be long before we'll look back on this time with the same, or more, nostalgia.


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