Sunny Side Up

“How do you want your eggs?”

I’m sitting next to him on the patio of an IHOP in the rain, smiling too much and keeping my hands in my lap where he can’t reach out and grab one.

If he notices the way I don’t lean in for a kiss and cross my arms when we walk, he doesn’t let on. He leans in for me, wraps his arms around me in my favorite bear hug.

Let This Be Enough

“Let this be enough.”

I heard those simple words this morning as I sat quietly in my living room beneath the “Inhale” and “Exhale” artwork that reminds me to breathe. In my left arm sat my cuddly grey cat that I never intended to own; in my right hand steam rose from the coffee in my Be Brave mug. My jealous Poodle, deeply offended that I could love any creature apart from herself, had crawled into my lap and curled up on the pillow. A soft Target blanket was tucked around my legs, and my feet were warm inside fuzzy socks. A pumpkin candle glowed and fall’s weak morning light shone through the windows. Be still, I urged my mind. Be still and know. Stay quiet and listen.

On Moving Across the Country and Being Content

When I got the email, I knew I didn’t really have a choice. I was growing bored of my small college town and the fear of remaining there forever was stronger than ever as all of the people around me were graduating. I hated that I had already stayed this long after my own graduation. I was feeling stagnant; I was getting restless. I loved everything about my life as it was, except for the fact that there was no way it would stay that way. I had the urge to leave before everyone else did.

When Purpose Wavers

But difficult classes, loneliness, discontent, and failed experiments quickly overshadowed the idyllic concept I had of this season of life. What had once felt so solid in my mind began to crumble and it's only now, one year later, that little buds of insight are poking through that shattered concrete of some of the blocks I'd built upon my foundation.

A Little More of Both

On Monday, I am happy because I visited my college this past weekend. I walked around campus and remembered lots of little things—who I sat on that bench with, where I ate the most deliciously unhealthy meals, what sidewalks got to eavesdrop on my heartbreak. It’s all still there and so are my friends and everything about it is as beautiful as I left it.

And then I am sad, because I had to come back here and wake up early and go to work. College has gone on existing. It is difficult to fathom my campus without me, me without it. There used to be a hole in the Boston College atmosphere where I fit perfectly, and I am afraid that pockets of me are still left behind there, in those gaps. I’m afraid that there are holes in me now that I won’t know how to fill.

The End of 23

Twenty-three has been the hardest year of my life, straight up. And I say that with zero melodrama and with the common sense that there will be years ahead that are worse and years ahead that are better. I know many of you can relate. Maybe this is just our early 20s, or maybe this is just life—this pendulum swinging between the dark and light, wandering and arriving, wondering and knowing, grief and joy. 

Lessons from a Keurig

I step inside the duplex, the one I had been living in for the last year with four of my best friends, and immediately notice the new coffee maker in the kitchen. The duplex looks a bit different now with three new tenants. Two of my best friends still live there and every time I visit I notice a new way the interior has changed in my absence. I feel almost cheated on by that house before I remind myself that houses don't have feelings and it's not personal, Maddi.

Celebrate the Journey

My five-year anniversary as a coordinator in academia arrived this month, and with it came a reality check. I graduated six years ago, and the goals I set out with are not the ones I have met since then. This can be a terrifying thing to realize, as though your ride in life took a detour and you only noticed at the end destination. The truth, however, is more complicated than that.

Coming Alive and the Changing Leaves

I have about a thousand memories of fall tucked away in my back pocket—any one of them, if pulled out at the right time, would have me spiraling into a fit of nostalgia. Fall is a special time of the year. Even if you weren’t the first in line to grab a pumpkin spice latte on September 1st, I’m sure there is something in your spirit that this statement resonates with.

Being Present Where You Are

I bought a painting today to help my room look a little more homey, to help ease the tension of being here and wanting and waiting to be home. It’s the New York City skyline looking towards Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked across that bridge in the pouring rain last year; I looked up into that skyline on the anniversary of 9/11, so scarred with pale blue lights marking what used to stand tall. I flinched as planes roared over the hundreds gathered around the memorial. I bought books and drank coffee and rode the subway; I fell in love with a new city, unexpectedly.

But I knew the feeling deeply, as if written in my DNA, because I had felt it before, six years ago, walking much different streets, drinking chai, not coffee, and taking autos and overcrowded buses.

Losing Your Life to Busy

I have a new job, which is why I now wake up before the sun. It’s a nonprofit job, an Americorps job; I don’t get paid much (read: like, below minimum wage), so I have a second part-time job on top of this new full-time job. Throughout the day, my inboxes fill up with my other two “jobs”— freelance work for another nonprofit and running That First Year.

I’m busy.

But I know this busyness isn’t unique to me. You’re busy, too. We all are.

Lessons from an Eraser

Nothing can prepare you for feeling unprepared in the “real world.” There’s no glossary, no professorial advisor, no syllabus, and, perhaps the most disorienting, no grades. I don’t know how I did during my last tutoring session. I’m not sure of my strengths in my last interview (although, I can confidently report many weaknesses).

Finding Happy One Year Later

Last Thursday, I got an email from my company’s CEO.

“Congratulations,” it read, “on the most important decision of your life thus far. You’ve been with us for an entire year!”

The email was a little presumptuous; I found it a little off-putting. But it reminded me of a milestone I would have marched right past had it not been for a standardized company email and nice little bonus gift in my paycheck—I’ve been living this adult life for 365 days.

Home Is Where You Find Yourself

I sat in the corner of the empty bedroom in my apartment trying to get that perfect picture for Instagram. It was my last chance to take in the view before I subleased it to someone else. It had been my home for over a year and a place where many happy memories were created.