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Lessons Learned: 2015

1 Jan

This is the only tradition I have surrounding the new year, and I’ve come to really look forward to it every year. Here’s 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

In adulthood, you make your own growth

This year felt weird, in a not-great way, and it took me a while to put my finger on why. Then I realized: for the first time in my life, things haven’t changed. I still have the same job I did a year ago, I live in the same apartment, I hang out with the same people. There haven’t been any major accomplishments this year, just me showing up to work and doing my job and coming home.

It hasn’t been a bad year. There weren’t any tragedies in my personal life, I went on a couple nice trips, it was perfectly serviceable. But nothing happened. My whole life, every new year meant a new grade in school, and 2014 (my first full year graduated) included a couple of major changes. I don’t feel like I grew much in this last year, because you need change for growth. Continue reading

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2015 Goals Review

28 Dec

Last year I wrote a post of my goals for 2015, and now that it’s the end of December I figured it was time to see how I did. Continue reading

I Only Write When I’m Sad

8 Nov

There’s something about the words, about typing something out and clicking “publish” and letting it go into the world – something about it that makes me feel like what I have to say might matter, maybe to someone other than me.

I wrote in my diary every day from ages 7-18. Every day. I still have one, but now I only write when I’m sad. It’s mostly about boys. Pages upon pages over the last three years of overanalyzed text messages and invented futures with men I barely knew. If I die tomorrow, someone will read my journal and presume I cared about nothing else.

That’s not true, of course. I just only write when I’m sad.

I used to have a folder on my desktop, called “Homework”. Inside, there was another, “Spanish”. Inside, yet another, “Book Spring 2009”. That’s where I kept all my writings I didn’t want anyone to find. I’d rant about my body, my grades, my fears for the future, my friends – mean stuff, always far meaner about myself than about anyone I was angry with. Words have always been a way to let go, and yet I never trashed those documents. I saved every single one, by date, and I’d reread them. For some reason I couldn’t stop bringing myself back to those moments of rejection and self-loathing.

The writing was never any good. It was emotional and thoughtless – necessary, but not the sort of thing you want anyone else to read. Just a dump of feelings.

I read about Marina Keegan. She died, at 22, but she left behind this amazing trove of writings from her college years. About all those same feelings – the world moving too fast, choices, fear, growing up, friendship, loss – and yet hers is good. She had a play produced. She wrote for the New Yorker. And she died.

Here I am, alive, and what am I doing? I have a good job, the kind of job you get when you work hard in high school and college and take on leadership roles and fill up your resume with work experience in your field. But I always thought there would be something more. I want to change something. I want to help people. I want to be impressive. I want to write a book.

But I only write when I’m sad.

It’s November. It’s Sunday. It’s raining and I have a cozy apartment with plenty of tea and Netflix and popcorn and books and a whole day to myself. I’ve done yoga and drank coffee and read for hours and went for a walk in the rain. This is the stuff of a thousand Instagram posts.

But my phone is broken. And I’m lonely. And my sink is clogged and everything is a mess and I can’t, just can’t, find the energy to fix any of it when I know it’ll all just fall apart again.

And I haven’t outgrown those fears – of being a burden on my friends, that I’ll never achieve any of the things I dream of, that I’ll be alone forever.

So I write, because I’m sad.

But I don’t write the article that’s due next week, or the book I’ve been telling people I’m working on for ages. I write a blog post, because when I hit publish I know that someone out there will read this, and maybe they’ll nod, and just knowing that – that for a moment someone out there will know that I exist and think about what I have to say, even when it’s not much – that helps.

Everything I Write Is Dumb

21 May

On the internet, things last forever. My Facebook posts from 2007? Still there. The posts I started this blog with in 2012? Still there. Thank goodness I wasn’t active on LiveJournal back in 2004, otherwise I’m sure that would still be there too. Every awkward moment of my adolescence, every stupid assumption I made, every youthful complaint about some teenage boy – it’s all online, free for the finding.

People get ripped apart for the smallest thing, these days. People lose their jobs for things they post on social media all the time.

I keep my social media pretty tame: my Facebook and Instagram are very PG, and I very rarely Tweet. But I have this blog. And I try to write things that are real and true about my life – except for that’s really hard to do when you’re terrified not only that your boss could find it, but that, even worse, your boss decades from now could find it. When I’m in my 40s, I’ll surely find everything I write now to be inane, misinformed and annoying. What if some future potential employer pulls up some stupid post I wrote when I was 24 (what if it’s this one???) and then decides to not give me a job? Continue reading

Now. Here. This.

6 Apr

It was the middle of the night in June four years ago. I was on a shuttle to an airport motel outside of Paris with a backpack and a rejected debit card. I was alone. It was raining. I had taken an ill-advised last-minute weekend trip to France while studying abroad in Spain, and now I didn’t know where I was going to sleep or how I was going to pay for anything. And I barely spoke a word of French.

In short, I was freaking out.

I was sitting in that shuttle, on the verge of tears, when I thought about the only thing I could to calm myself down. Right then, at that exact moment, on that bus, I was warm and dry, not hungry or in danger. Right there, at that second, everything was okay. Ten minutes later, when we pulled up to the hotel, it might not be, but all I had to deal with was that moment. Continue reading

I Woke Up at 5 a.m.

20 Mar

On purpose. Yes, this is a big enough deal that I’m blogging about it.

In college, every once in a while, when our to-do lists got longer than our arms, my friend Luke and I would have early-morning homework dates. We would force each other to wake up before 6 on a Saturday (because we hated ourselves, and each other, and happiness), go to Starbucks, and be ridiculously productive for the next four hours, hit the gym when it opened by 10, and basically be rock stars. Or, more accurately, the opposite of rock stars.

My theory is that I hate the world so much for existing at that time of day, that I basically get work done out of spite. Continue reading

On reacting, deciding, and trying to sort out my future

5 Mar

From April 2013 to September 2014, just about every choice I made was a reaction. I wasn’t getting interviews for the 50-some jobs I applied to, then I was offered a summer internship in a field I wasn’t particularly interested in located in an oil boomtown. I took it, sight-unseen. By the end of the summer, I still hadn’t gotten any of the writing jobs I was applying for, so they offered me employment and I took it. Housing was really expensive there, so when a family with a 3-year-old offered to let me rent a room in their house, I took it and moved in. Four days later, my friend decided to come join me, so I found an apartment and signed a month-to-month lease within 36 hours. Then, within four days we found a cheaper two bedroom and signed a lease on that starting the next month. Continue reading