Learning to Appreciate the Gift of Singleness

The cynic in me wanted to believe that singleness meant that I was lonely, a failure, and unworthy of love. Especially after so many guys had come and gone throughout the years. I would ask myself things like,

Why am I single?

Why are were my friends able to find love, and I was not?

Is there a sign on my forehead that says, "Dateable, but only to the uncommitted?"

On Eating Queso and Failing to Reach My New Year's Goals

Honestly, I haven’t been immune to the feelings of shame that come when you look at your goals and see how much you didn’t accomplish, the unchecked boxes on your to-do list nagging you for the inability to keep up. I’ve carried much of this shame through December, and especially through last week, when I had so much I wanted to get done that did not, at all, get done.

Why You Should Just Sign Up

"Self-care" is the buzzword but many of us, myself included, do not do it enough. There is a certain pride we take in hustling and working crazy hours to get where we want to go. But at the end of the day, we are not superheroes. We need sleep. We need downtime. We need to do something for ourselves here and there, otherwise, take it from me, you will burn out.

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2017

We owe everyone who has contributed their stories at least a year’s worth of lattes as a token of our gratitude, but alas, this simple “thank you” will have to carry the weight of our appreciation instead. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has written for, read, and supported That First Year this past year. We exist because of and for YOU and we can't wait for what 2018 will bring to this community. 

Here are the top 10 most-read posts of 2017. Enjoy these stories from some incredible writers.

Genres: The Toll of Anxiety

This emergence of drama was coupled with my physical pain I felt earlier this year. I had chest pains, trouble eating, and my stomach hurt without any rhyme or reason. As a result, I left my job without having one lined up. As terrifying as this was for my bank account and my dignity, I needed a change. I couldn’t stomach ten hour work days, three hour commutes, and six hours of sleep. Something was not right and I was determined to get to the bottom of it. 

Joy, Laughter, and Unconditional Love

We are right in the peak of the holiday season, where dreams of home-cooked meals and sitting around a fire with loved ones play through our minds and the songs on the radio. Living close to home, where I can see my parents every weekend, take my grandma out for dinner whenever she’s willing, I would have thought this kind of holiday-induced homesickness would pass me by.

Instead I find myself counting down the days until December 25th, eager to reunite with the people who make me, me.

Some Thoughts on First Dates

Ah, dating in your twenties. Does anyone really know how to properly do this? In an attempt to entertain myself, I got on Tinder for exactly the third time in my life. The first two times would require their own posts, to be honest. This time, I was simply there to swipe left and reassure myself that I’m single because there are essentially no men to date in a 100-mile radius of where I live. Until, that is, a handsome stranger super liked me. How could I ignore that?

The Winter Wallows: Learning to Appreciate the Dark Seasons

Despite the magic of the moment, I pretty much hate winter. My feet are perpetually cold from December to March, and the sun hibernates for weeks at a time. I’m the Scrooge of winter; everything is grey and my mood is quick to reflect that. I thrive in the temperate seasons of spring and fall, and I can even get behind the long days of summer, even when the sweaty Southern humidity makes me irrationally grumpy.

A Beginner's Guide to Self-Discipline

Once I realized that Discipline is not a bad hang, I started inviting him in to spruce up other areas of my life. Meal prepping, writing when I don’t feel like it, practicing guitar, journaling, keeping my living spaces pretty—all these things require the wisdom and care of Discipline. I have found that my creativity, free-spirit nature, and whimsical planning are only as good as the boundaries of self-discipline they are held within.

The Inconvenience of Love

Disclaimer: I’ve never been one to appreciate people. My self-defensive armor growing up was sarcasm and a black-and-white, right-or-wrong view of the world. I followed the rules and made the grades and went to church because I was supposed to, but pride and the need to be right was my motivation behind this rigid rule-following. And while college was a gradual melting of this judgmental view of people and life, it wasn’t until after college that the real work began. Time to scorch the earth to make way for new things, better things.

Ladders and Light: Finding Peace Within the Busy

If post-graduate life, and starting this internship, is like climbing a ladder, then I’m getting lightheaded. It’s a challenge, there’s some risk involved, but I took my chances: and now I’m tired. The up-and-down snatches my breath away and I need a moment of pause; need a reassuring smile from the one holding the ladder steady.