All in Dreams

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.

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: 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. 

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.

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.

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.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: When You Want to Do Everything

In all seriousness, though, I felt like I had transported right back to where I was my senior year, caught in the in-between of trying to hold on so tightly to those last few months of my life as a student, and looking so forward to venturing out of it. But it brought back that old familiar, restless feeling—the same feeling I had when I got back from London, and when I first moved here—of wanting so many things and trying to figure out a way to make them all coexist.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Mountaintop Moments

Removed from the college bubble and re-planted in a new life, the field is wiped clean again. I have to again make a real, conscious decision about where I fit in and how I stack up. There seem to be metrics in place for who’s “winning” post-grad—high-power job? committed relationship? best apartment? coolest city?—but there’s no prize. New York is enormous, and social media is a daily tidal wave, and there have been days when I feel so small.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Redefining Failure and Moving Forward

It’s been six months since I graduated from university and if I’m perfectly candid, it’s been a rough ride. People keep telling me that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing at this stage in life. “You’re so young, take time to figure it out!”

I have been told some variation of that statement hundreds of times since April. As reassuring as it is to hear, I haven’t felt content with what I’m doing since I was in school. I miss writing every day. I miss being challenged, studying, learning new things and that fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants adrenaline rush I get anytime I’m working under a strict deadline. 

FROM THE ARCHIVES: What the Hell is "The Dream" Anyways?

I will never forget the night leading up to graduation that I had lain in my apartment crying and texting my brother about not wanting to celebrate my accomplishment. I had been through interview after interview yet had nothing to show for it. I felt like a failure. My parents and I had both invested so much money in this dream of mine and here I was, two weeks from graduating college and only having a part time job paying barely over minimum wage to show for it.

Looking for Life

Our deserts will look different—a job loss that flattens you, credit card debt that seems endless, a family drama that has yet to resolve, a breakup that breaks you, an addiction that controls you, a depression or an anxiety that plagues you. Deserts can look so much like a place of despair.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: On Finding Your Calling

On the greyest of days, my decision to take the comfy corporate job felt like a step back in the career I never had; a red mark on my shiny post-graduate résumé, previously filled with all things English major-y. And it was in the moments of restlessness that I couldn’t help but wonder… Did I sell out? Did I give up on my dreams too fast? Was I wasting my talents? My forty thousand dollar education?

Was it all for nothing?

Imperfect, Not Failing

Typically, if I know something is going to be imperfect I will probably not do it. Or, the second something starts revealing its imperfections I dip out. Relationships, goals, Wednesday night yoga—if I am standing face to face with imperfection I will use it as an excuse to distance myself from whatever the thing is. Because if imperfection means failure, and failure means making a fool out of myself in front of the whole world that is obviously watching and judging my life (I’m looking at you, Yoga Wizard behind me at the 6pm Vinyasa class), I need to get out of Dodge before shame and the opinions of others get some pitch forks and angry-mob-style force me out.