FROM THE ARCHIVES: When It's the New Year and Everything Is Different

I couldn’t bind up other people’s problems and make everything okay. I just couldn’t. I learned that I am not superman; I can’t save people. I learned that sometimes people choose to be unhealthy, that they choose to be in dangerous situations, but that I don’t have to support bad choices. I learned that I can walk away. Sometimes walking away means that you lose a friend, but it often means that you gain some clarity and peace. I learned that I can’t please everyone because in the words of Brené Brown I’m not “the jackass whisperer.”

You Knelt Beside My Hope Torn Apart

“It’s called real life, and it’s cracked and fragile.”

Real life seems to be awfully cracked and fragile lately.

I have friends who are hurting—friends mourning the unexpected death of family, friends grieving the loss of friendships, friends fearing potential layoffs, friends aching from loneliness or a feeling of not measuring up to their peers. So many people in my life seem to be carrying with them their own fanny pack of hurts these days.

When You Feel Everything

We’ve all made it through the not so good days, no matter the cost. Some of us cope with hard times better than others. Although we’d all like to say we can “just get over it” in a snap, sometimes that isn’t possible. That’s when we put on a brave face and take on the world as if nothing happened in the first place.

BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Power of Habit

If you were to do the math, I have probably lost countless hours of my life to scrolling through social media; this is troubling. So one of my hopes for this year is to read more and scroll less. If you’re on the same page as me (pun very much intended!!!) with the goal to read more, I thought a Book of the Month series might be a good addition to That First Year. My hope for this series is that we, as a community, could come together and read good books and then suggest good books to others. Here's why you need to read January's Book of the Month, The Power of Habit.

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?