All tagged Archive 16

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 20s, or maybe this is just life—this pendulum swinging between the dark and light, wandering and arriving, wondering and knowing, grief and joy. 

Today I Am On A Plane: The Move to New York City

Today I am on a plane. 

I have just moved to New York City.  I have listened to "Empire State of Mind" 7 times.  I have had 2 mimosas. I don't know what I'm doing here. I don't know how I got here. 

Five days ago I was in Nashville, TN. My home for the past 4 years, my city, my happy place.

One day ago I was in Long Lake, MN. My home for the past 22 years, the only home I've ever lived in, my safe haven. 

Today I am on a plane. 

I have realized there is a difference between dreaming your dreams and living them. 

I have also realized how hard it is. 

Through the Eyes of a Child

One disappointing thing about getting older is noticing the mystique of things that used to excite you fade. Coming into the real world is met with its fair share of challenges, and the temptation to let this harden you is accessible; perhaps it’s autopilot to become jaded. To have a hopeful outlook towards the state of the world, towards your passions, even towards life at times, takes a conscious effort. The reality is you witness (and sometimes find yourself in the middle of) a lot of crash and burn scenarios as you grow up, and it is really easy to let ugly truths cloud your perspective.

Dealing With Heartbreak at 35,000 Feet

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 spent the time leading up to my trip to Berlin thinking about the what if’s: What if I wasn’t leaving for half the summer? What if I could stay in Nashville? Would things change? Three weeks of driving myself crazy with questions made me realize that I needed to go to Europe, if only to provide myself with a distraction from neurotically checking my ex’s Instagram page. I packed my bags and in mid-May settled into seat 27C on a flight from Dallas to Frankfurt, thinking that maybe this was a good way for me to take a break from the breakup.

On Making Decisions When You Are Afraid Literally Always

Like a dramatic and silent slow action shot in a cheesy multi-million dollar film, I watched in horror as the barista raised the whipped cream dispenser, taking aim at my beloved mocha. But I didn’t want whip. In fact, when ordering, I had specifically requested no whip, please. An internal battle raged within me on whether or not I should say something. Over whipped cream. I was literally contested over whether I should say something about whipped cream.
 
Because why rock the boat? Even if it’s as inoffensive as asking for no whip.
 
“Don’t say anything,” Fear instructed. Over whipped cream.

Let It All Go: On Shedding Expectations and Fear

There are a few things that happen when you graduate college. You celebrate school being finished. You send out job applications with big dreams and starry-eyes. You get rejected and ignored. You send out job applications, and LinkedIn invitations, and cover letter after cover letter—you dream about cover letters—you start losing steam. You want a job. You want a job so badly.

You get a job. You celebrate. You go to your first day in a new pencil skirt with starry-eyes. You love it, for a while. Some days you hate it. Sometimes you wish you could go back to that time when you weren’t tied down to your desk, even though that’s all you wanted. You start losing steam. You want a new job, or to travel, or to do what that girl on Instagram is doing. You want that other life so badly.

And it’s not that what you have is bad, or that it isn’t what you expected. It’s that there are so many reasons to tell yourself that you’re doing something wrong. That you didn’t choose the right path.

One Year In: 3 Lessons from That First Year of Post-Grad Life

I turn 23 at the end of July, meaning I was the baby of my grade all through my academic career. Being the youngest (among other things) somehow made me feel uncool and likely had an effect on my ridiculous effort to prove just the opposite. Self-expression was key here. I found identity in a flowy skirt, Converse sneakers and a Rolling Stones t-shirt in the 8th grade. “Woah, Lane, that look sounds way chill already—how’d you manage to make it even chiller?” you ask? Braces and a DIY hemp necklace, obviously! The universe had surely never seen anything this edgy. I remember feeling like a fraud but also a badass when asked, “Can you even name a Rolling Stones song?” and responding only with a panicked “yes—of course!” before fleeing the room immediately.

I can name close to 10 (lmao, boom) Rolling Stones songs now, but in many ways I still carry around that same confidence-meets-self-consciousness. It’s this stupid thing where I don’t care what people think about me so much so that I want them to know just how much I don’t care. I believe “caring” is what that’s actually called. So just to reiterate: sometimes it’s hard to feel like an adult.

Reflecting on the year, it bums me out to realize how hard I’ve been on myself. Whether that meant kicking myself for not living up to an expectation or kicking myself for being “too much” or kicking myself for not being enough, there was always a reason to kick. But the thing is, all we can do most of the time is try to exist as we are.

That said, I’ll keep this short and sweet with three pieces of advice for those entering their first year after college.

A Letter to the Recent Grad

I took graduating really hard. Like, really hard. I left school having absolutely nothing figured out with absolutely no answers, and spent most of the summer crying to my parents and denying the fact that I could no longer get dollar drinks at the bar (one of the rudest awakenings about post-grad life…). I felt lost without my friends, without the walls of UNH that protected us all so neatly, and without my identity as a student.

…because if I wasn't a student, then who the $%&@# was I?!?!?

An Ode to Carrie Bradshaw

It’s discouraging when you work something up in your head for so long and nothing comes of it; the moment I put something in there, I can’t let it go for the life of me. And it’s even more discouraging when you realize that what you want may not exactly be what you need. But John Steinbeck once wrote to his sons: “I have discovered that there are other rivers. A great many never come to know that there are other rivers.” I over-analyze literature like I over-analyze everything else, but what I took from this is that sometimes, we try to cling so hard onto what we know, simply because it’s what we know. But you have to allow your dreams to change so constantly because you are changing so constantly. There are other rivers, and other cities, and other places to grow in. And often, they are the ones you would never expect.

New Things, Better Things

It’s been a hell of a year, but in the very ordinary, nothing-too-tragic-has-occurred sense. You know, the kind of hell that has nothing to do with a death or an incurable illness or a divorce or an addiction, none of that. In fact, if you were to peer into the window of my life from the sidewalk a yard away, it would look to you like it’s been quite a rich year from last summer to the new one approaching us: adventures all around the country and even the world, a new job, a new house with a kitchen so beautiful it should be photographed and framed, a new kitten, by golly! So much new-ness. All good. Objectively, that is.

But I’ve been a mess through it all, a big ‘ole blumbering not-pretty-to-look-at, please-avert-your-eyes mess. 

Let the Applications Roll: 5 Tips for Applying to Grad School

The moment has arrived. After months of near neuroses, you’ve narrowed down your options and you’re ready to submit your completed graduate school application(s). To anyone who has not reached this point, the idea of actually being finished with your GRE and having gathered everything to submit an application may seem too good to be true. It also might seem downright unrealistic. Our undergrad applications were essentially a joke, seeing as how Jesus Christ Himself gifted us with websites like Common App that made submitting applications into the distant memory it is today. However, forget everything you know about applying to college. Take those sweet, sweet memories of meeting with your high school guidance counselor out of that back slot in your brain and erase the files. You’re on your own now, friend.

The 5 Stages of Deciding to No Longer Date Someone

I recently stayed on a date longer than I would have liked. The night began with dinner, a dinner that was three hours long. “That’s so great!” you the reader might be thinking to yourself. “Laurel really connected with that guy and they had so much to chat about.” I so wish that was the case. The dinner lasted three hours and then the after-dinner drinks lasted another three hours because the person I went on a date with moves/speaks/blinks at the speed of Friday afternoon. The pace is certainly friendly. But you don’t want to cruise in the speed of Friday afternoon when greater things pepper your horizon. So when he asked me if I wanted to tour art museums with him - (FYI this is a wonderful date idea. It’s classy and fun.) - I knew I had to say no. And my heart sank in my chest a little bit.

I go on a lot of dates. This is not meant to be a bragging right; it is a simple fact. As a young, social human in a vibrant city bustling with single people, dating is somewhat commonplace. And there are so many wonderful pieces of advice about how to recover from rejection or a breakup that could combine to make a world full of pies. And a world full of pies would be a better place. But what I have not heard/read/listened to on a podcast is how to let someone down and how not to feel a million emotions yourself. I feel everything all the time. So, since they (someone at some point said this) say feelings are best processed with others, I have decided to share them with you.

When I have decided I no longer want to date someone, I usually travel through 5 stages. 

Get Out of Your Own Way

Have you ever had those moments when your thoughts unexpectedly go from a slow, Sunday-driver pace to an absurd, Fast and Furious velocity? This, of course, often happens to me just as I’m peacefully drifting off to sleep.

The most recent time my mind-engine revved was a couple days ago on International Women’s Day, which, to my chagrin, I just found out was a thing. The Google Doodle for the occasion showed women of various cultures and backgrounds finishing the sentence “One day I will…” with their career and life ambitions, and it made me feel inspired and proud, yet simultaneously panicked. After watching the Doodle, the souped-up hot rod in my brain—a Lamborghini, obvi—skipped the first several gears and squealed out of the driveway.

What is my ‘one day I will’ dream? Why don’t I know all of these languages? What if I’ve missed an opportunity—or several— to really pursue my dreams? Am I living up to my potential as a human and a woman? Am I even adulting/womaning correctly?!

On Being Single on Valentine's Day and Being Way Too Sober

I gave up alcohol for Lent. But it turns out, I didn’t give up the reason I normally drink alcohol. This is, of course, due to the fact that my love life is akin to post-meltdown Chernobyl. Lent happened on Ash Wednesday, as Lent does, and I stopped drinking. No happy-hour Shiners, no Friday afternoon margaritas, nothin’. Just iced tea, water, and hot cocoa. Additionally, Ash Wednesday was the day I flew to Texas for a weekend wedding. Now if you know me at all, or even if you don’t, you know that I love my friends, and I love that they have found love, but I often do not love weddings. This is probably because I don’t like wearing dresses. It’s also because weddings are expensive. Especially for bridesmaids. Particularly for Maids of Honor. Groomsmen have it so damn easy: just a bunch of college buddies getting together for a weekend of debauchery, breweries and golf for the bachelor party and then a weekend of wearing a suit they may or may not already own on one Saturday. Groomsmen are the men that will marry you and bury you.