Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2017
It's been a big year for That First Year.
We hosted a successful giveaway with Her Story Goes and KVH. Creative (psstt... we've got something planned for the new year, so follow us on Insta @thatfirstyearblog), published the first issue of Windrose Magazine (get your copy here), and shared more than 140 stories on That First Year, stories that have covered all the topics that speak directly to the heart of living life in your twenties.
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 (and these last three years!). We exist because of and for YOU and we can't wait for what 2018 will bring to this community.
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Below are the top 10 most-read posts of 2017. Enjoy these stories from some incredible writers.
1. 5 BOOKS THAT CHANGE YOU
“Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic,” J.K. Rowling wrote. My girl J.K. nailed it, because I firmly believe words can challenge and shape our perspectives on life. Below are 5 books that I have read multiple times and highlighted the ish outta the pages. I’ve included some of my favorite lines to give you a preview of the goodness you can expect in each book.
2. WHEN YOU’RE BURNED OUT
“I failed at so many things, and from the outside it looked like I was barely moving. But it felt like I’d never worked harder in my life.
I had to work to get up every morning. To call recruiters on the phone and put myself in the vulnerable position of facing rejection. To pick myself up after every fall. I’m not very good at those things—I’m not versed in the language of failure and negativity. They took everything out of me, with no room left for the things I used to love. The passions I used to feel.”
3. THE BEGINNING, THE MIDDLE, THE END
“Suddenly, I was crying like I had been broken open.
It was cool and misty and there was nobody around to hear me. I sat in the center of the labyrinth and I breathed deep from the center of me until the tears ran dry. I have always believed I am the sum total of everyone I know, and in that moment, as things were beginning and in the middle and ending, I felt all those people behind me, with me, sending me off.
I stood up, wiped my tears, and left the labyrinth for the last time as an undergrad.”
4. FOR EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON
“For all the struggles of my post-grad job search, and all the questions it's brought me, in my heart of hearts I know I picked the right path. Book publishing is a hell of a world and I love being in it. But what have I missed? What's going on in the music world I never knew? Is it possible to have FOMO—fear of missing out, that enigmatic gnaw at your heart that says you should be anywhere but where you are—is it possible to feel that for something I was never a part of to begin with?”
5. WHAT I MIGHT HAVE TOLD HER
“I often wonder what would’ve happened if me, at this present time, sat down with me, one year ago, to have a conversation over a margarita. What would I have said? Would she have listened?
It might start off with her assessing her goals, short term, long term, rushing through the inevitable stress of student loans and working some job with grueling hours only to push forward in her career. Her rattling off the various cities she’d like to check out. Her mentioning where she might like to end up.
I might have nodded, I might have offered that there’s no way to prepare for post-grad. I might have expanded by suggesting there’s no preparation for any transition, not at this age, nor at any age, really.”
6. AN HONOR JUST TO BE NOMINATED
“At 25, I’ve officially crossed into the territory where more of my friends are married than not, and many are starting to have children of their own. I can’t even commit to more than a two-week long affair with a particular variety of Fernet–or rather, it can’t commit to me. As a rule, I don’t like to spend much time considering feelings of lack, but I’ve begun to notice that an absence of partnership gnaws at me more mornings and evenings than I’d like to admit. Recently I confided in my childhood best friend about this insecurity (she has both a husband and a baby on the way) and she reframed the grimness for me in the way only best friends can. ‘You are a city woman,’ she said, ‘and you do city woman things.’”
7. 3 SIGNS THAT IT’S TIME TO LEAVE YOUR JOB
“And then something changed: my workdays boiled over into ‘bad days’ (and then bad weeks and then bad months).
Misery had fallen over me with a thick icy rush. Well into my second year at the company, I realized all at once that each of the slight upsets I’d experienced during the job had joined together to form a mammoth melancholy. I hadn’t received the opportunities I was originally promised. Snow. I was getting bored doing the same trivial work. Snow. I watched my teammates get disrespected over and over again. Snow. I myself wasn’t being treated with basic human kindness. Trigger.”
8. 4 TOOLS TO EARN EXTRA CASH
“So I can’t pretend like I’ve been sacrificing my way of life all that much, even if my monthly pay is laughably-low.
BUT I can say that this small income has challenged me to be intentional about how I spend my money, including ways to earn additional income, even if it’s only $10. Because every dollar counts when you are getting paid less than minimum wage!”
9. ON DOING LESS
“It’s not giving up. It’s not an inability to prioritize. It’s a reassessment of those sky-high standards. It’s looking really closely at myself and saying, ‘I believe in me. But today, I will just do what I have to do. I will wake up, and get to work on time, and do the important things that need to be done, and take a deep breath if the to-do list isn’t all crossed off by tomorrow. Tomorrow, if I just need to do what I have to do, that’s okay. And the day after that, and the day after that. I will do what I have to do, until I can handle doing it. And until that’s done, everything else can wait.’”
10. WHOLE 30 FOR DUMMIES: MEAL PLANNING
“It was day 3 of a trip home to Chicago. My brother flew my whole family in to see my nephew’s last wrestling tournament of the season. My parents and other sibling, who all live in Arizona, and I were getting ready to fly back to our respective homelands when my parents decided to forego sitting down at Chili’s for dinner and instead got sandwiches from Jimmy Johns. Upon seeing this unholy sight I immediately ran to the bathroom and burst into tears. Chili’s has fajita vegetables and chicken. Jimmy John’s has everything wrapped in gluten and sugary condiments. Chili’s is Whole 30 approved. Jimmy John’s is very much not. After 15 days of Whole 30 and 3 days of unplanned meals while traveling, my body entered into a very real and entirely irrational state called ‘hangry.’”
// Begin 2018 with That First Year. //
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[Photo by Julie Bloom.]