Life, It’s a Relatable Thing

Written By: Kaelyn Binder

As we look around at one another it is easy to make assumptions about the individuals we are seeing. No matter where we go, we are surrounded by people that may seem similar to us, yet far from what we view ourselves to be. Surface level assumptions that lead to biased opinions about people we don’t even know. From what they are wearing, to how they walk, or who someone is associating themselves with, we as humans create surface level opinions about the individuals we are surrounded by. However, have you ever considered how you may personally relate to those people who you are so ungraciously depicting? Have you ever attempted to view them past their surface level appearance or general demographics? Although it may be hard to realize at times, every person that walks this earth is more than just the skin they show or the clothes they wear on their backs. We are compiled with stress and worry, we have learned from beautiful mistakes, and we were all created from similar life experiences that in turn molded us into who we are today. Throughout the remainder of this blog post, I would like to ask each of you to dig a little deeper and consider whether or not you can personally relate to these ordinary circumstances and practices that we as humans experience each and every day. Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable, grab some coffee or a beer; because let me tell you something, those two surface level beverages are definitely something that I can relate to.

Stress, It’s a Relatable Thing

    Have you ever been in a public library or a coffee shop and seen an individual who appeared to be on the verge of a mental breakdown? Yeah, that’s called stress, and that is something that we can all relate to. Stress is a mental and physical emotion that every person around you has felt at some point in their lives. Take it from a true college student working two jobs and going to school full time for the past five years. Yes, I said it, FIVE. Not only do I stress about money, school work, and getting things done in a timely manner, I also personally stress about much more minor things that I know each and every one of you can relate to. Even the simplest things in life are easy to stress about. For example, have you ever stressed over waking up late and realizing you snoozed your alarm for the fourth or fifth time? All you can think to yourself “S@*#!  I did it again!” Yep, that is something I can definitely relate to. Or maybe you are stressed because the toast you just made for breakfast is overly burnt and is now inedible.  As a result you end up hangry, leaving the house irritable and agitated. What about when you are in a hurry in the mornings and can’t find the shoes you are wanting to wear even though you have seven other perfectly wearable pairs of shoes waiting to be worn in your closet? As crazy as all of that may seem, the majority of us have all stressed about and can relate to minor instances such as these. So, the next time you see someone who appears to be in distress at your local coffee shop down the road, realize that this stress may have been caused by an instance much more minor that it may appear. Instead of assuming the worst, consider creating a bit of random small talk to simply let the individual know that “Hey, I can relate”.

What is Life?

    Growing up into who I am today I was sent through a series of ‘phases’ that weren’t all that pretty. From my initial tomboy image that I rocked until highshcool to learning how to acquire more lady-like attributes, I still find myself in an awkward phase in life learning how to “adult”. However, aren’t we all struggling with the concept of what ‘adulting’ actually means? I mean, we are sent through a long and drawn out educational career where we are faced with so called core curriculum that is supposed to aid us in our future paths in life. But then again, how are we supposed to relate those core curriculum courses to what we all struggle with today?  I am now a college level student who is about to graduate in May, 2019 and am still struggling to find an understanding of how the Pythagorean Theorem or how learning a song to remember the capital of all fifty states relates to the everyday knowledge that we are all supposed to be familiar with. Individuals my age (stinkin’ millennials) can almost all relate that we don’t have any sort of understanding of how to properly file our tax returns, how to understand the basic car troubles that we all undergo, or how to appropriately treat any health issues we may be experiencing. Call me crazy, however WebMD is still my go-to medical symptom site, and I know my parents are tired of receiving phone calls from me worrying that I may be experiencing a potential stroke. Don’t lie, the majority of you can relate, we all tend to self-diagnose thanks to WebMD. The point that I am trying to make is that no matter what age you are, or where you find yourself at in life, we can all relate that learning how to ‘adult’ is a never ending phase.

(Relat)ionships and Friendships

One thing that I can personally appreciate is that the friendships and relationships I have been a part of are what helped me grow through each of those so called phases. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was able to fully understand just how important some of those connections that I made truly were. The people we associate ourselves with directly impact what we are going through at that point in time. They are a reflection of not only our tough times, but some of our most prosperous moments as well. Have you ever been apart of a friendship that you thought was fun and adventurous but turns out was damaging and toxic? I know I have, and it was an experience that I have both learned and grown from. What about being a part of a relationship or friendship where you were their emotional support blanket? Although it may be difficult at times, in these circumstances we must understand that we are someone who that specific individual personally felt they could relate to and confide in. Lastly, there are going to be certain people within your life where you feel an instant connection with them. They are the ones who share similar interests and odd habits, such as eating a pickle and peanut butter sandwich; not many people can relate to you on that, but the ones who can are the ones worth waiting for. What I am trying to get you to see is that we make connections to people in life based on what we are going through at that current time. It doesn’t matter if you were able to relate to someone on a deeper level or through the discussion of your sandwich, what truly matters is that at that exact moment, you found a level where you could both relate.

Technology, it’s how we relate.

As our world has become more advanced, technology has created a new avenue that allows us all to connect and relate to other people around the world. For individuals my age, as well as those who are younger than me, it is easy to get caught up in the technology that is quickly shaping our lives. Through the use of social media platforms we are able to connect with people who may have once seemed unimaginable. Whether it be famous actors or athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts, or the numerous array of influencers that fill our social media feed, there is always someone who we are living vicariously through each and every day. We are now given the accessibility to make connections through Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, or perhaps through other blog posts with individuals and groups who we never thought we could connect with before. At times we may get caught up in our overly obsessive scrolling, I too am guilty of that, however we are generally viewing our social media as a way to visually connect and relate to different people. It is crazy to me that through the use of technology and social media we all have a particular individual or group who we have never met, yet we feel we can relate to.

I relate to you, and you relate to me.

    I feel like it is safe to say that there are numerous other ways that I could discuss with you about how we all relate to one another. Whether it be surface level relatability, or deeper internal relations there is always something you can relate about with the person sitting next to you.  If you like Macaroni & Cheese, we can relate. If you wear mixed-matched socks, we can relate. If your family isn’t perfect, we can relate. If you are secretly upset with your body image, trust me we can relate. The list goes on. As this blog post comes to a close and I am writing to you, I keep thinking to myself how and or why I chose to write about relatability. What I have decided, is that not only am I an individual who has told myself numerous times that only I would understand, but I am also an individual who appreciates being the person that others turn to when they feel they are alone. What I would like you all to remember, is that we all are connected to one another in some shape or form. Simply breath, stay calm, and always remember that everyone around you can relate.

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Oh My God, I am turning into my mother!

By Mallory Hickethier

At 24 years old, I never would have guessed that I would be so much like my mom. In middle school, we do anything to not be like our parents. We don’t want people telling us that we are like our parents. How dare someone says that, I am my own person. But now that my generation is learning how to ‘adult’ there are things that we have picked up from our parents just by aimlessly watching them or from them teaching us how certain things should be done.

This is a list that I have gathered from different people, both men and women of differing ages, that have grown up to have similar habits like their parents. Whether we like it or not.

“It’s completely normal to sound and act like your parents, no matter how hard you have tried to be different. It doesn’t mean you have become them.” (Psychology Today)

Taking your hat off when you walk into a building

Most people don’t do this anymore but there are still some people, mostly men, who do this without even thinking about it anymore; it’s just habit now. This gentleman was taught this by his dad and grandpa.

Eat a spoon full of sugar to cure the hiccups

Well if this isn’t the biggest myth I have ever heard but people and their families swear by it. I guess it time for me to give it a try!

Back seat driving

My dad would probably agree with this… I am just as bad at back seat driving as my mom. Sorry mom and dad, I learned from you and I am sure many other people would say that’s where they have learned their back seat driving and road rage from too.

Loading the dishwasher

I’ll be honest, I have a specific way that I load the dishwasher and if the people I am living with don’t load it the way I am used to, I will rearrange it. Maybe it is a little bit OCD but Tupperware ALWAYS go on the top, knives do NOT go in the dishwasher at all, pots and pans don’t go in unless there is room and plates gets lined up in a row. One thing that has made college life sooo much easier, was getting a magnet that you can flip that says ‘clean’ on one side and ‘dirty’ on the other. No more wondering if the dishes are clean or not. Here is an Amazon link to buy one because they are game changers!

Underestimating time

Like when your mom tells you that something will take a couple of minutes, but it really turns into a couple of hours… *SIGH*

Ending phone calls the same way

Next time you hear your mom on the phone, listen to how she says goodbye. (Obviously it will be different depending on who she is talking to, but you’re not any different.) You might surprise yourself about how much you are starting to talk like her.

Deep clean your house weekly

Some people might deep clean their house weekly, others monthly, or maybe even never. Whichever one you do, that is probably how your parents did it.

Always check in with each other when traveling

My mom and I are constantly on the road. We let each other know when we are leaving our destination and when we arrive at the next destination. It is always a good check in for both of us. I highly recommend to this, if you don’t already.

Check your vehicle before a road trip

My roommate has made it a habit to check his oil, tires, gas, etc. before long road trips, which is especially practical in Montana when you can travel miles and miles before seeing another car or gas station.

Putting sheets and towels away

Put your clean sheets and towels away on the top when you are done washing them. But the real part of this plan is to pull from the bottom when you need to use them. This is for those that own more than one set of sheets and towels that is…

Feeling guilty if you have dessert first

Well this most definitely is not about me, but there are people who were taught a young age that they HAD to eat their dinner first before they were allowed to have dessert. I think most of the time my parents were just happy if I ate anything as a kid. Nonetheless, I think this is generally a good rule to follow so you don’t fill up on sweets before dinner even if the dessert looks better than the main course.

Keep everything possible in the freezer

We have always been taught to freeze things and then unthaw them if we want to eat it. Why waste food when you can freeze it and save it for later?

Do the dishes while you are cooking or right after you are done eating

This tends to be a little bit harder for some people to follow just because of the fast-paced life they live. My mom rarely leaves dishes in the sink after dinner. I try not to do this either but ya know… life. If I have learned anything, it’s that I need to be more like my grandma and mom in the sense of cleaning up right afterwards instead of procrastinating.

Always have a beer when you come home from work

I have lived with my roommate for the last two years and he never walks his dog before he has a beer. I asked where he got this idea from and immediately, he said his dad. I kind of second guessed him as we both laughed and then he looked back at me and said “YEP! Definitely my dad.” He claims it is the best way to end the work day.

These aren’t necessarily lessons but yet tendencies or propensities that we learned over the years while living with our parents. Most of these have become habits that we mindlessly do. These are the things that help us think about our past generations and what they were taught as young adults too. Once we take that step back and think about what weird things we do and ask our parents if they did those things, it is then that we realize who we got those routines from.

If I could be half the woman my mom is, I would be so fortunate and mostly because of the things she taught me when I was growing up. Something that I will never forget from her is every day she would tell my brother and I to be “kind, honest and respectful.” And to tell you the truth, I will probably repeat those same three words to my kids someday. 

Say Thank You, It’s Important

I’m writing this blog for a marketing class I’m currently taking and I honestly could not come up with anything I wanted to write about, even after asking multiple people over the past week or so, the writer’s block prevailed.  As it came down to the wire, I thought “I should call my Dad, he always knows what to say.” And then it hit me, why not write about that? Why not talk about my parents? Weird way of getting there? Yes, maybe! But I realized that a shout out to my parents couldn’t possibly be a bad idea.

I’m not generally the most emotional person, or even the most sentimental, but I understand the importance of telling someone how much I love and appreciate them. With that being said, I realized that I really have never said thank you to my parents for shaping me into the woman I am today. So with that, here it goes!

Where to begin? My parents have never been the pushy or overbearing type. They’ve never forced sports or student council or even straight A’s, they simply planted the seeds and watched me do with them what I wanted. I still remember having discussions with my dad in elementary school about becoming class president in high school and how cool it would be to experience something like that. From that moment forward it wasn’t a question of if I wanted to become class president, it was an assumption and a goal. These little seeds were planted over the course of my childhood through casual conversations on the drives home from soccer practices, or nights sitting in my dad’s art studio chatting about politics and the art world. My parents were the best at just letting me be independent and make the decisions I felt were necessary to learn and grow.

Now that I’m away at college, these conversations aren’t quite as common and are definitely more adult in their nature, but they still have the same impact. I call my dad for literally anything school or professionally related. If I’m stressed, or overwhelmed, he always knows what to say to talk me down. He always knows what advice to give me when it comes to that job interview or when I have a breakdown about what I’m doing or where I’m going with my life. How he handles it? I’m not entirely sure! Especially considering I have 3 little sisters he also has to deal with at home. Regardless of how he manages, I can’t express enough how thankful I am to constantly have him there to guide me through life’s challenges.

As for my mom, she’s definitely a cool mom, more of a friend one might say! She’s always there like a mom should be, constantly the first one to ask how my day was and question me about the experiences I’m having at college. She encourages me to take time for myself and to make sure I’m sleeping and eating and all that jazz. She never tells me I’m being a child, even when I throw the occasional tantrum or have an attitude fit for a spoiled teenage girl. I call her when I need advice or guidance in my personal life, whether that’s boy drama or I’m feeling unappreciated and need someone to remind me that everything will be okay. She never fails to tell me how proud she is or to say she misses me and wants to know when I’m coming home. She always knows how to comfort me through my emotional ups and downs and lift me up when I’m feeling depressed from the heaviness of my responsibilities.

So Dad, thank you for always taking the time to advise me, to encourage me and to remind me that the chaos is only temporary. Thank you for constantly showing your support and never ending a conversation without an “I love you.” Thank you for talking with me like an adult and also for occasionally forgetting I’m actually a grown up. I know that’s just a dad thing to do, but it reminds me that even though I’m away at school and living on my own, you’ll always be there to protect me from the monsters in life. Thank you for showing me that sometimes it’s worth it to take risks in order to get the things you want in life. And ultimately, thank you for inspiring me through your hard work and dedication to your career and the obvious passion you have for what you do. And through everything, thank you for never failing to put Mom, me and the girls first.

And Mom, thank you for never doubting me and laughing at my relentless sarcastic comments, even when they’re really not that funny. Thanks for listening to my drama and pushing me to make the best decision and do right by the people around me. Thank you for showing me what it means to truly give your life to your family and your time to your children. Thanks for offering to drive to Missoula when I’m having a rough day and thank you for being positive through the difficult times in life. Thanks for never being afraid to express your feelings and reminding me that sometimes showing compassion and empathy are the best things anyone can do.

These are only a few of the aspects of my relationship with my parents that I’m happy to brag about. But really, thank you Mom and Dad. Thank you for creating balance and stability in my life. Thank you for never pushing, but always nudging me to succeed. Thank you for showing me that I’m really my own worst critic and to lighten up sometimes. Thank you for encouraging me to set my goals high and and my standards higher. Thank you for supporting me and inspiring me every day. I am so appreciative of every ride to practice, every long day spent at tournaments, the academic assemblies, late night phone calls, shopping trips, serious life discussions, gossip sessions, book suggestions, dinner dates, and a whole lot of patience.

I know I used the word “thank you” approximately 212 times and this really only pertains to my parents, but I think it’s important to take a moment every once in awhile to actually express your appreciation for the people who love and care most about you. I’m beyond grateful for the relationship I have with my parents and I’m blessed to have such wonderful role models in my life. Take the time to tell someone you love them, send them a text or leave a simple note, and never forget to say thank you because it’s important! I love you Mom and Dad, thanks for raising me to stand strong and be confident in who I am. I’m forever appreciative of everything you do for me.

Love,

Your Favorite Daughter

Jordyn Kronenberg

The 1,200 Mile Commute

From starting high school, moving to a new town and having my parents live over 1,200 miles apart, 2008 was a year of many changes for me.

As a child, I grew up in Tucson, Arizona with my older sister, older brother, my mom and dad. My parents were always very hardworking, supportive and loving as I grew up.  Always attending my volleyball and basketball games as well as track meets, bringing me to tennis, horseback riding, or piano lessons.  My dad would make my lunch in the morning and then drop my sister and I off at carpool, while my mom would pick us up after school and bring us home.  We ate dinner as a family every night and weekends were often spent doing some sort of family activity whether it was going to the pool or helping my dad plant flowers at a property he managed.  We had a lot of family time and I enjoyed it.

 As I graduated from 8th grade my family moved to Big Timber, Montana for my sister and I to attend high school.  The town is very rural and has roughly 1,500 hundred people living there, with 200 people in the high school.  My mom had quit her job and committed to being a full-time stay at home parent while my dad commuted from Tucson.  At the time my dad had been traveling a lot with his side job of managing a catering crew that cooked for the Avon Walks for Breast Cancer and Susan G. Komen 3 day walks.

Entering my freshman year was hard, I often got a lot of questions such as “how do you have nice things since you don’t have a dad” or “well your parents must be divorced since they don’t live in the same state”.  Questions like this were a frequent occurrence since my dad was only able to visit around once a month.  He was so busy working at his property management and landscaping business as well as traveling cross country catering that visits were generally for a short amount of time. I went from having my dad play such a crucial role in my life to talking to him often twice a day on the phone.

Having parents that are married and live 1,200 miles apart is not ideal, but we made it work.  My parents did what they had to do for my sister and I to succeed and I believe our family grew stronger because of it.  I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices that they have made and I know both of my parents have always been cheering me on whether they were right by my side or miles away.

~Maureen Galen

The reality of showing horses with non-horsey parents.

The learning curve is steep.

            Really steep. Mom always said, “The more you know, the more you don’t know.” And her go-to line, “Everything I know about horses I learned from Makenzi.” I started riding when I was 3, and went to my first horse show with my very own horse when I was 10. It was an adventure. I didn’t know what lead we were on without looking, I wore my mom’s old motorcycle chaps, I had sparkly, button-up Murdoch’s shirts, sparkly belts, and pink boots. I was hooked! Each show we went to, my parents started learning what to bring, how I should look, and the in-and-outs of horse showing by strictly observing. I didn’t start out with a trainer…just Mom, Dad, and me. Talk about dedication.

Pig tails, dad, and horses

 

Mom’s the checkbook. Dad’s the driver.

Not really, though. Mom still jokes about this, but they are so much more than that. After years of sitting through lessons, literally hundreds of hours, they know what to look for and can usually place a class pretty accurately despite being non-horsey. “I have no idea how you would do this, but I think his head looks a little too high. Can you fix that?” “POSTURE ALERT.” “Smile.” (I hated that one.) Although it snuck up on them, they know so much more about horses and showing than they thought possible…the hours added up.

Horse showing or camping?

 

Food, clothes, and hair.

My mom is the queen. Always needing a job, but never quite knowing how to help, we agreed very early on that she would be in charge of food, clothes, and hair. She, of course, took these jobs extremely seriously. Bless her heart, she would bring me homemade turkey sandwiches between classes, have all my show clothes dry cleaned and organized, and she would spend all day checking my hair and handing me hairspray because GOD FORBID one hair be out of place. Pinning my western hat on was a job she adopted, because one time, at one show, my hat came off and tumbled through the arena. Again, a job she took seriously, she would wedge bobby pins between my skull and my hat, making my head bleed on more than one occasion (she’ll deny this). My mom was the best at all of these things, and I’ve met a lot of horse show moms.

Mom after shoulder surgery with me at the Las Vegas Championships 2016

 

“Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?”

Dad. With a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito in his hand he found at some long-lost, locally set-up concession stand. As an early riser, he would be up not long after me, wondering around the show grounds, making friends with the other “show dads,” and finding questionable food and coffee. He’d memorize the menu and rattle it off periodically throughout the day…just in case anyone was getting hungry. His signature move was finding me, usually while putting in a tail or blacking hooves, and say, “Lookin’ good, Dood. Need anything?” I’d usually say no, but sometimes I’d ask him to go grab something from the trailer and he’d leisurely oblige, happy to help…after all, he might find another hidden concession stand or someone he hadn’t met yet.

Me, Pilot, and Dad…tired and sweaty

 

Diva behavior is not tolerated.

“Change your attitude before I rip you off of that horse!” –my mom. Horse showing has a way of bringing out the best…and worst in people. Although I knew my sweet, little mother couldn’t reach me, let alone “rip me off” my horse, it wasn’t an idle threat. Yelling, getting mad at my horse, being snotty or demanding were all actions punishable by leaving the horse show. From observation, horsey parents had more patience for their child’s meltdowns and tantrums (usually.)

Looking like a diva is important, though

 

I’m so proud of you.

Win or lose, my parents made sure I knew this. Because they never pushed me to ride and show horses, I never felt unneeded pressure to do well (I was hard enough on myself.) Some exhibitors with horsey parents would come out of the ring after a bad ride or a bad pattern and their mom (or dad) would just tear into them. Tears would fly and yelling could be heard throughout the stall barn. If I had a bad ride, my parents would meet me outside the gate, understand my frustration, and try to reassure me it didn’t look all that bad…even when it did.

Winning, winning, winning

The decision to show horses was mine and mine alone. My parents never thought twice about supporting this crazy sport. From buying trucks and trailers and horses to sitting in an arena for 10 hours at a show, I cannot repay them. Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart and never ever look back.