Finding Home

There’s something about the holidays that makes me feel so at home. 

It’s been seven months since graduation. I’ve moved back to my hometown to live with my family, driving an hour to and from work every day, and it almost seems as if I’ve had to search to find my place in the world all over again. I’ve had to come to terms with friends moving away and getting engaged and married and life changing so quickly.

Lessons from Being a Nanny

Sometimes, I feel like I know too much to move. It’s this wormhole of worry I get sucked into when I think about how to do something right that’s got me glue-sticked down to my sheets. I know the adhesive isn’t very strong and getting up is possible, but also not necessary. I mean… I don’t even have to pee. I’m also not hungry and out of groceries anyway so awake but pant-less, un-showered and groggy I stay belly-down.

Today, it’s the kids who are on my mind.

"I'm Just A Girl": Introducing The Creative Exchange

You know those moments where you can just tell that someone is talking about their passion, because their face is brighter and their voice more animated and their words come easily? That’s how it is talking to Lane about her art, and nothing makes this “FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!” heart of mine happier than seeing a friend so passionately pursue what makes her come alive.

Welcome to the launch of The Creative Exchange featuring artwork and products created exclusively for That First Year by our fellow peers.

All We Have is Time

Several years ago, I was at World Market with a boy I loved, looking at dining room tables, and he’d just said he liked a certain one because it was the right size to work at and have the person across from you rest their feet in your lap. I replied, “I want to be her. I want to be the girl with her feet in your lap.”

We Nodded Because We Understood: On Grief and Melancholy Love

When I graduated from college I had two majors, a corporate job lined up, and an apartment that looked like a Pinterest board come to life. I felt good about the future and couldn’t wait to meet the woman I was about to become“I’ll bet she wears turtlenecks!” I would think to myself, “She’ll be cute and boyish, but everyone will know she’s powerful because her job takes her to Europe.” 

Grief, Designed

I imagine hospice is a bit like blowing into your hands during a blizzard. A small moment of warmth. A reprise until you let the whiteness consume you. I’m not afraid of this whiteness. I’m not even afraid of the trying-to-stay-warm part. What keeps me up at night is the grief.

Palms Up Pausitivity: Developing a Sense of Gratitude

When I began my first full-time job, I adapted a personal daily affirmation for my journey. I began this practice after reading that the simple act of turning your palms up can drastically change your mental state. Turning your palms upward adjusts your mind and body to become more open both physically and mentally. Not only that, but it is also a nearly universal gesture of trust and willingness to listen, therefore creating a more welcoming approach to others.

My Protagonist's Internal Conflict: What to Write?

As young post-grad writers, we often find one another invited to the same pity party. It’s an ongoing gathering, one that Facebook pesters you about seven gazillion times a day. Officially, the event is called: What On Earth Are You Gonna Write About/Fulfill Your Lifelong Dream With/While Holding Some Shred of Dignity With Your Laptop and Cappuccino, held at Location TBD from 6:30 pm through eternity. And everyone in the written world is invited. There is also a 40 percent chance of rain.

Hope Lost and Regained

I was in the middle of working on an assignment where I had to accompany a client home on the train. This first job after college had me crying some days over how stressful it was, on top of not being anywhere I had planned for my career to go. As the days progressed, I became more depressed, continually feeling less sane than the first day it hit me that this job had not been meant for me long term.

The Alternatives to Complaining

Today is my 13th anniversary living in Canada. I’ve been here for exactly half of my life. From the time I arrived there has never been a morning when I did not feel grateful for the decision that my mom made when she applied for immigration. The first year in Canada was a great challenge for her, but I have never heard her complain about anything. She did not complain when an immigration officer called her diploma “garbage” or when she was coming home from a temporary job at a chocolate factory with a fever and icicles stuck in her hair. 

Mountaintop Moments

Removed from the college bubble and re-planted in a new life, the field is wiped clean again. I have to again make a real, conscious decision about where I fit in and how I stack up. There seem to be metrics in place for who’s “winning” post-grad—high-power job? committed relationship? best apartment? coolest city?—but there’s no prize.

Overcoming Perfectionism Amidst the Process

You should know, and you may find it ironic, that you’re reading an article on overcoming perfectionism from a Class A perfectionist. 

If anything, I hope it makes you feel less alone, less crazy, more understood, and more capable of overcoming its downsides. Because perfectionists are already harder on themselves than anyone else, so when others put their flaws in the spotlight, it’s crippling. Worse than crippling, actually - it is suffocating. 

Somewhere Else

"I'm moving to Canada."

That's something so many of us have heard, or even said ourselves, over the past week once America's long-awaited election results stared us in the face. Canada's immigration site even crashed from too many disgruntled, scared, devastated Americans looking for a way out. Canada will be better, we thought. In Canada we can find our peace.