All in Life

Redefining the Idea of Success

It has been almost a year since I graduated from college. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. My younger self would be surprised that I did not choose a solidified career path, but my younger self would have also questioned why I quit doing the things that I loved. Why did I not allow myself the space I needed to be creative? I could not allow myself the time for anything else besides school and work. To me, that is what equaled success.

When Life Feels Transient

Despite the excitement of unpacking and settling into a new place, my tendency is to be frustrated and bitter for weeks surrounding a move. It’s easy to get caught up in missing what I no longer have. I romanticize the yard from our old home—in my mind it is lush and green even though in reality it was too dry and prickly to walk barefoot on—but wasn’t it better than this brick patio space? I miss the white walls that we’ve exchanged for beige, even though we couldn’t hang anything on those walls without asking our landlord to pound in the nails (something I was too shy to do the entire duration of our stay.)

Waiting for Happy

For my entire life, this has been my dream. Freezing cold, sitting on the roof of my apartment, staring out at New York City in all its glory, at 2 o’clock in the morning, listening to Billy Joel. It really, truly does not get better than this.

But at the same time, it could.

Because there’s something that no one tells you about getting your dreams: Sometimes, it’s not what you thought it would be. Because sometimes, dreams change.

To The In Between

I am writing to inform you that I have decided to accept your offer to stay here for a to-be-determined amount of time. I’ve decided to occupy the space that you’ve provided me with here because it seems I have no other choice. I’ve tried my hardest to get out of this space, to crawl and dive and roll my way out of this weird and uncomfortable living situation. This is worse than any bad roommate I’ve ever had, for the record. I’ve tried to avoid giving people this address when they ask “what are you doing with your life?” or “where are you now?” because I quite honestly haven’t bothered to memorize it either. Every time I think I’m moving out and I’ve convinced myself this is it, I fall right back on my ass and am reminded, abruptly (and painfully if I must say so myself), that it is not my time.

Life Is Messy

Life is messy. A few weeks ago, as I fell asleep with my sister in bed beside me, this thought played through my mind: life is oh-so messy. For all of us. No one is spared hardship or heartache or challenges. We all have something. For some, the weight, the battle, the uphill climb is greater than others.

Cultivating Community in Post-Grad Life

I work about an hour away from where I live, so finding those same connections has been discouraging at times. I cannot tell you how many Google searches I have done for “young professional groups near me,” “young adult singles ministries,” and every variation you can think of only to find myself hours later with no better answer than when I first unlocked my phone.

The easy route that seems so appealing because it requires no effort is to simply wait it out—wait for the “right” people to fall into your lap. But not making a decision is a decision in and of itself. I have found that looking for brand new, unfamiliar territories right off the bat can be daunting and intimidating, especially for an introvert like myself.

The Value of Boredom

When we devote our time to something, we are asking it to shape us. In the best case scenario, the time we spend in-between things on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat, etc. isn’t wasting the time we allotted for work or gym or pleasure. But even if it’s taking up only the in-between-time, it’s still shaping us. And beyond shaping us, it’s making it more difficult to focus on the worthwhile when the worthwhile becomes boring.

And the worthwhile is more boring than sexy.

On Letting Other People's Opinions Define You

You see, I knew I had the potential to create something impactful. I’ve fought through my own darkness and have sat with enough friends in the thick of their mess to know that there is a whole army of people who need to know they are not hopeless and they’re fine just as they are. But whenever I took any steps to bring it to reality, I would get shut down by fear and sent back to the depths of YouTube.

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?

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.

Baby Steps: The Power of Yes and Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

Since taking that first step, I’ve made the trip back to speak in numerous classes and even at other events. Yes, the introvert in me still needs plenty of time to recover after public speaking. But every time I went back to campus, it got easier. With every step—every time I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no”—I gained momentum.

That’s another great thing about baby steps: every step you take builds momentum—stamina to keep going, strength for the journey.