All in Life

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.

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: Finding the Happiest Hour

Between stressing for Walter White’s father-of-the-year-campaign and my ambiguous job future, the happy hours continued. I have the utmost appreciation for these friends that took me out of my own darkness and enjoyed a beer or two. We treasured our three dollar drinks, our pita and chips, our half off cocktails, our half off wines, our chances to escape the pressures of “do you have a job yet?” and the looming student loan emails. The bitter hops of a summer ale washed away our problems, reminding us that if Emily Blunt and John Krasinksi found each other, we too can find jobs and futures that welcome us wholeheartedly.

The Problem with Broken Expectations

Last winter, as I hid under a blanket and bemoaned the graveyard that is modern dating in the city of Nashville, Tennessee (where every boy is contractually obligated to include in his I-don’t-actually-want-a-relationship script: “But I think you’re really cool!”), I told Chelsey that we should just stop having expectations altogether. Because rarely are expectations met, so why bother having them in the first place? I figured I could protect myself from any future disappointment by kicking expectations out completely. Expect nothing, I argued to her.

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.

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.