Learning to Loosen Your Control on Life

I like to have things mapped out and know exactly what I’m working toward. I prefer to weigh out the pros and cons and then make one rational decision after another. For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept endless to-do lists and goal charts. And to be honest, that’s worked pretty well for me. Until after college, when the possibilities were endless and nothing seemed to go according to plan.

Having an image in my mind of how I wanted my life to be and then having things play out very differently inevitably led to a lot of anxiety. My self-critic became debilitatingly loud.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Making Time for Yourself

I’ve allowed myself to fall into this routine that is toxic to my personal productivity. And I’m the type of person who cannot be fully satisfied from just work, I need to see advancements in my personal life to feel a real sense of accomplishment. But lately, I’ve spent every free moment thinking of all the things I need to do and dreaming up all the things I want to do that I don’t leave myself enough time to actually do them.

Rebuilding: An Invitation to Hope

There’s not much I remember about this year of my life. I remember sleeping a majority of the time, and crying almost all of the time I was awake. I remember having to run out of classes and meetings because I was crying and painfully anxious and I remember being holed up in my dorm room, literally fearful to open the door and exit the space. I thought I had known Rock Bottom from previous years and experiences. But this was it: the lowest I had ever known.

How Contact Lenses Changed My View of Life (Literally & Metaphorically)

I’m very quickly overcome with the urge to see it all. I begin to fret over all of the things I’ve likely missed—glances exchanged between strangers or friends, the Grand Canyon could have been even more breathtaking, the intricacies of veined leaves on trees, paths I should have taken, missed moments where I could have made an impact.

I wonder how often we miss things or take things for granted and how much of a difference approaching each day with a fresh lens could make? I wonder also why I hadn’t made this decision sooner?

Falling Under The Millennial Stereotype

Two over-sized suitcases are packed full of my belongings, and I am ready to move across the world. This Texas girl is flying off to live in the suburbs of London. Indefinitely. I will be continuing my teaching career at a British school, teaching "maths." 

Three phrases I have spoken on repeat since accepting my new job are as follows:

"This is the craziest thing I have ever done." (Obviously.)

"I'll be back." (Not in a Schwarzenegger accent, but you get the idea.)

"I'm such a Millennial." (Just the truth.)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Therapy for the Skeptic

“I’m going to therapy.” When that statement was first true for me, the sentence felt slippery, like I couldn’t quite wrap my hands around it, like trying to hold one of those weird liquid-filled sparkly gel blobs we played with as kids (really, what were those?). Or like trying to roll those Spanish “r”s or pronounce those deep-throated “e”s like the French do—it sounded unnatural when I tried to say it. So instead, I said “I’m going to see Sarah” or “I have an appointment” or, mostly, I just don’t say anything at all, keeping it tucked away in my I’d-rather-not-say collection.

My Journey to Tackling $29k in Student Loan Debt in 1 Year

Last May I graduated college with a student loan balance of $29,000. Being an individual who was always mindful of my spending, this number was daunting. I had never even left a balance on my credit card.

Yet, I could still find relief in knowing that I was below the national average. 2017 graduates average nearly $40,000 in student loan debt. The United States altogether holds $1.48 Trillion in student loan debt. Talk about monstrous. And honestly, I don’t see it declining in the near future.

Even though $29,000 seemed immense, I knew that if I made smart decisions and planned accordingly I could make it work. Fast forward to June of 2018 and I’m officially free of student loan debt.

With graduates taking on increasingly more debt each year, I thought I’d share my story.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The End of 23

Twenty-three has been the hardest year of my life, straight up. And I say that with zero melodrama and with the common sense that there will be years ahead that are worse and years ahead that are better. I know many of you can relate. Maybe this is just our early twenties, or maybe this is just life—this pendulum swinging between the dark and light, wandering and arriving, wondering and knowing, grief and joy. 

You Don't Have to Starve

I remember coming home from college that summer. My hands were shaking and my laundry was dirty and I echoed with emptiness. An emptiness that was so expansive I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel full again.

I was finally realizing what everyone else had been trying to tell me; something was wrong. I was fading fast, and it wasn’t normal; this anxiety and need to control everything from my breakfast to what the person in front of me was thinking.

On Loneliness

Making the most of loneliness means not nursing the discomfort of emptiness but creatively discovering new ways to fill it. Singleness may not always naturally fill our time or our hearts, but there is plenty of fullness to be experienced if we only choose to fill the space with, well, whatever the heck we want.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: How to Travel on a Post-Grad Budget, Part 1

It is 180,000% possible to travel on a post-grad budget, and I will defend this statement in a manner that is borderline aggressive.

The world wasn’t meant to be admired from a stock desktop wallpaper; it was meant to be experienced. This is another statement that I will defend in a manner that is borderline aggressive.

But traveling isn’t always easy on entry-level wages. Here’s how to see the world without breaking the bank.

10 Tips for Online Dating

The world of swipes and texting and endless first dates can be pretty bleak when you’re one of the few souls looking for a "real connection." Hookup culture could be blamed for some of this, but I find so many people, myself included, want an instant connection, because putting in the work of actually getting to know someone (in real life, not on a phone) is arduous and requires sacrifice and vulnerability that we aren’t ready to give.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Road Paved with Disappointment

You should just drive across the country,” she said lightheartedly, and laughter ensued. Drive across the country, what an absurd idea. But then the joke got taken one step too far and all of a sudden we were plotting about who would pay my rent for a month and where I could stop to stay the night in Oklahoma and Arizona and California. Suddenly, I was calling my parents and asking if I would still be allowed to come home for Christmas if I made a rather (arguably) reckless decision and drove my tired, thirteen-year-old car across the country. (It took some negotiation but I am, indeed, still allowed to come home.) We sat in a coffee shop for an hour and hammered out the plan and concluded that there really wouldn’t be one, that sometimes you have to take a leap, whether or not it looks like a promising landing, and whether or not people are going to speculate about where your mind might have run off to.