My New Year’s Resolution this year was to read 50 books in 2018. To make this resolution a little more challenging, I made my own baby version of the 2018 Read Harder Challenge. One of my challenges was to “read a book about personal finance,” and You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero was the book to do the deed.
Less than a week ago I turned 25. I had a very excited boy text me multiple times, wishing me happy birthday and triple checking to make sure I was having a good day. This is truly the most commitment I have gotten out of the opposite sex in my quarter of a century. In part, this is because I have become very good at maintaining my singleness. Even without my deeply rooted fears of commitment and affection from men, I am still incredibly independent, stubborn and an always-fun split between a damn lady who needs to be courted by a gentleman and a damn feminist who will not tolerate inequality of any kind, so don’t you dare try to hold open my car door. My Bumble profile basically writes itself.
If you’ve also been considering taking a break from the dating scene, here is your sign to go for it! During this time away, I’ve discovered that there are so many other areas of our lives in which love can also be found. Making healthy changes in these areas will positively impact our lives so much, that they will undoubtedly prepare us to become better partners when we do finally decide to get back out there and venture into the world of dating once again. We can use this time to do the following.
Over coffee one weekend, my friend poured out her thoughts in the vein of frustration with her first full-time gig after college. Her angst was stemming from the general discontent of routine and the initial feeling—3 weeks in—that her job was meaningless and seemingly dead-end.
As I listened, I felt the ping of familiarity with these sentiments—feeling discontent with the present and frustration of waiting for the future.
She asked me, “How long does it take for this to go away?”
In the midst of this season, there is something I’m learning about. I’m discovering what it is to be loved, even in the face of my failures and weaknesses. I’ve spent the last 8 months with a man who is far more than I deserve, who holds me together on the bad days, and who is my daily reminder that I am not empty of life, or of growth.
I don’t want to tell you that being in a relationship is better than being single, or add to the lies that you are not fulfilled, loved, or good enough without a partner. But I want to share the things I’m learning from this mysterious love thing; 23 things that have shaped me before my 23rd birthday.
Windrose Magazine issue 2 is almost finished!
And I'm super pumped to be able to share with you some details and let you know how you can get your copy!
In issue 2, you’ll find articles like:
"On Heartbreak and Healing"
"The Poison of Perfectionism"
"In Defense of Loneliness"
"How Corporate Killed My Creativity And How I Got It Back"
"On What It Means to Matter: An Interview with Author Hannah Brencher"
And so much more—all real life stories to assure you that you’re not alone as you navigate life in your twenties.
This is where you come in.
There were many challenges about this trip that I very naively didn’t foresee, but the hardest and most emotionally taxing was how difficult it was for my body. I was out of shape and ill-prepared and the hills of the Irish countryside were much more demanding than I anticipated. On my last hiking day I walked 18 miles on a beach. I thought I would finally find some relief on flat ground, but it was grueling and I was in tears for more than half of it. I had planned for something adventurous and worthwhile and my body was insufficient in aiding me in those things. That trip lit a fire in me, and shortly after I got home I made a list of all the hopes I had for my body. I wanted to hike Machu Picchu and outdoor rock climb and feel comfortable in a bathing suit on a beach. I didn’t want to be held back or limited because my physical health never made its way up from the back burner of my life.
I fear more than just speaking up in a coffee shop. I fear doing anything that may be slightly risky to my physical health, like white water rafting (trying to buy concert tickets when they go on sale is enough adrenaline for me, thank you very much). I fear disappointing the people around me – friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who has crossed my path ever, really (getting honked at is a truly sad occasion for me). I fear making decisions of any sort because WHAT IF I MAKE THE WRONG ONE?! (Cue the panic attack.)
I like to write out what I imagine my dream life looking like whenever I’m facing a time when I find it hard to stay excited. Remind myself to prioritize the things I truly desire, invest my energy in the things that will transfer joy back to me. Tonight, in my leggings and my bathrobe, holding the mug of steaming green tea that burnt my tongue on the first sip, I curl my legs up on my kitchen countertop. Sit in silence with a notebook and pen.
Just two weeks ago, the legendary groundhog sent news of an extended winter. The shadow was cast, and many of us sank deeper into our covers. With dark evenings and cold winds accompanying our every day, the winter can be a daunting beast. February, in particular, is a tough month to get through with little warmth in sight.
Despite this, there are ways to shake aside our blues and find some light in the fog. As a post-grad freshly lectured on the importance of taking control of one’s life, I have accrued a few tips on keeping the winter blues at bay.
After college, everyone is going to tell you that life is hard. The real world can be tough. To just have faith. That you’re worth more than your mindless desk job or your asshole ex-boyfriend or your student debt. And all of that is true. So, so true. Listen to those people.
But what they won't tell you is that when the joy of graduation has worn away, when you're loosed upon this crazy world, you might gaze into the rest of eternity and wonder what the hell you're supposed to do now. You might be scared to death. And you might have to wait a while to really feel worth a damn again. It may take a month, six months, two years, five.
However, it’s also very important to realize that criticism is something that should actually be embraced, because it can be used to our advantage in so many ways. So while I can pretend to know what my classmates would say and then feel insecure about it, what actually matters most is telling the story that’s in my heart so that I can encourage you to be able to do the same. In my experience as a writer, I’ve come to find that the following three methods can easily turn you into a feedback-receiving pro, no matter what field you’ve chosen to go into.
Three days after my birthday I got dumped. Plain and simple. I was about to leave for a month in Germany, followed by a more permanent residence in Alabama for graduate school, when my boyfriend said he wasn’t prepared for the distance. It hurt, I cried, and then I drank more wine than I should have.
I was in fifth grade the first time I denied myself food to lose weight. It started because a boy I really liked asked me to dance at a school event one Friday night. I found out the next day that he had been paid to do so and him and his friends had an array of inside jokes involving how many fat rolls they could count on my stomach. I vowed to never eat a thing containing sugar ever again.