Because life isn’t one big game of capture the flag

There are moments in life when you realize that what you’re trying to find might cause you to lose focus of the wonderful things all around you.

Even during a game of capture the flag.

On Saturday night, the FCA volleyball interns I’ve been working with all summer invited me to play capture the flag with a big group of people. It’s one of those games that I really like but don’t ever play, so I was looking forward to it. Plus, those girls are all so fun and have such beautiful hearts, and you just feel better when you’re around them.

I’ve been pumping iron and stuff.

We played at one of the local college campuses, so there was a lot of ground to cover to try to find the other’s team’s flag. Most of us weren’t super familiar with the campus, and it became even more challenging once it got dark. I wandered off on my own to try to be a hero for my team, and I made the mistake of leaving my phone with one of the girls who wasn’t playing.

As it turns out, I’m still slightly directionally challenged and rely on Google Maps for way too much in life.

I started running because I wanted to make up as much ground as possible in my quest for the other team’s flag. After a while of searching all throughout the other side of the campus, though, I had to stop looking so much for the flag and start looking for the right way to get back to home base, instead. By this time, the sun had gone to sleep long ago, and I couldn’t see much. Somehow I ended up on the main streets and way on the outskirts of campus. I had zero clue where I was, I didn’t recognize any of the street signs, and there were no landmarks in sight to give me the slightest inkling of navigation help.

I had gotten so caught up in not being able to find the flag that I had gotten completely lost in the entire process.

Thankfully, I stopped some guy who suddenly appeared on the street (he appeared to be safe, and I’m confident in my abilities to kick someone’s a$* when necessary) and had him consult the Google so that I could find the right direction to run. I eventually made it to where I needed to be, but it was a much longer process than I had originally hoped or ever intended.

You know, kind of like my dating life.

I think trying to date in this day and age can be quite similar to a game of capture the flag—you search and search so hard for something that sometimes feels like it’s impossible to find. People keep telling you that “the right guy is out there” and that you just need to be patient and do more of this and more of that to find him. But it’s easy to get so frustrated during that searching that you end up feeling lost and almost hopeless at times.

The way people meet and fall in love has changed in so many ways than how it used to happen years ago, but that’s just part of the society in which we live now. One of my friends had mentioned someone she had heard of recently, which resulted in me meeting with a matchmaker one day last week. Think of the movie Hitch, and it’s a similar concept. It actually sounded pretty interesting and maybe even effective, but then she told me what the costs were for either a three-month contract or a six-month contract, and I had the same reaction that Elle Woods had when Vivian Kensington introduced herself as Warner’s fiancée.

I’m sorry. I just hallucinated. What?

Needless to say, I won’t be part of the next Albert Brennaman/Allegra Cole success story. I’m still trying to have high hopes for my dream of meeting someone unexpectedly and out of the blue, like me being hit in the face with a football or frisbee at a park or beach, and the guy runs over to check to make sure that I’m OK, and sparks fly.

A girl can dream.

Perhaps one day I’ll surprise you with a picture of me with a fella at the beach. Until then, here’s a selfie.

I don’t know how I’ll meet someone, but I do know that I don’t want to be so caught up in trying to find him that I get completely lost. There’s so much life to live, and there’s so much love to give others. I want my focus to remain on being thankful for those things and those people already in my life and pursue them. It turns out that life isn’t one big game of capture the flag—there are so many people in this world who need love and need to know that they are valued. Do I want to fall in love with my person and be loved unconditionally by him? Absolutely. But I can’t stop my life entirely to go searching for that one flag that might not be ready for me to find yet.

I had prayed for a miracle when I was lost during that game of capture the flag, and God sent me someone to help when there was literally no other human walking around in sight. And I know that, if it’s part of His plan for me not to be single forever and to forget about the guy I wish were still a part of my life, He’ll send me someone when it seems like there’s literally no one out there for me (which it feels like much of the time).

Whatever it is you’re seeking in life—whether it’s a relationship or new job or place to live or a multitude of other things—I hope that you eventually are able to capture it. But I also hope that you are still able to appreciate and enjoy what you already have in your life and show your people how much you care for them.

Because, unlike flags that are tough to find, you don’t have to go searching very far to let them know that they’re loved.

Why Elle Woods is one of my heroes

There are some people we admire in life who are fictional characters, but we hope with all hope that there really are real people like them out there.

You know, like Elle Woods.

I gave a presentation at work last week, and in it I mentioned that Elle Woods is someone who inspires me. I know Legally Blonde isn’t based on a true story, but I’d like to think that once upon a time some passionate young woman got into Harvard Law after her highly convincing video essay and well-deserved LSAT score that she celebrated with her Delta Nu sisters. It seems perfectly logical to me.

There are a number of reasons Elle brings inspiration to the world, and I think it’s important to examine some of these reasons.

She does what she does for her own reasons. Elle makes up her mind that she’s going to Harvard Law, and she doesn’t let anyone convince her otherwise. Even when her parents and her advisor discourage the idea, she doesn’t let anyone or anything divert her path. Then, when Brooke Taylor (who is on trial for murder) tells Elle her alibi in confidence, Elle keeps it to herself, despite others encouraging her to break that trust. And it ended up being the right decision to make. She a strong one, that Elle.

She truly cares for people. Elle loves helping others. When she sees her classmate David struggling and being laughed at when he’s trying to get a date with some ladies, Elle steps in and makes him look like the shiz. She also helps her manicure lady, Paulette, in her pursuit of the UPS guy and teaches an entire salon the “bend and snap”—which is, obviously, the surefire way to win a man’s heart.

harvard mug
I don’t even drink coffee, but I think I need this.

She doesn’t let people make her feel like a fool. Elle might not look and act like the “typical” Harvard student, but homegirl doesn’t care. She knows she earned the right to be where she is, and she doesn’t let other people bring her down with their doubts or judgments. One of my all-time favorite movie lines is when she’s talking to Warner, her ex-boyfriend who is shocked to see her, and he says, “You got into Harvard Law?” Her response: “What, like it’s hard?” She doesn’t even acknowledge his jab at her—she makes it clear that she’s a BA, and she knows it.

She believes in herself. Elle doesn’t always have the support of everyone around her, but she doesn’t need it. She gets into Harvard Law by believing she can and working toward it. She wins a trial because of her belief that she is capable—that and her knowledge of perms and haircare. She graduates at the top of her class because she never gives up on herself. Her strut alone exudes confidence and admiration. Warner may not have had faith in her, but her determination and strong spirit draws the attention of Emmett, who not only believes in her but also falls in love with her. She doesn’t even have to bend and snap for that one.

There are going to be times when it’s difficult to continue chasing our dreams, especially when others try to make us feel like less than we really are. There will be discouragement, there will be heartache, there will be obstacles, there will be mean people, there will be failures, and there will be so many other things that try to stand in the way of what we’re trying to do.

But we don’t have to let them.

If you know in your heart that there’s something you’re supposed to go after in life, it’s best to go for it. And you, too, might find yourself at a level of success many people didn’t think possible.

What, like it’s hard?