TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for Midnight

Here’s to one last night of feeling everything, at least for this year. Here’s to the fires we walked through and the infernos ahead. Here’s to the love and laughter we experienced and all that’s still to come. And, of course, here’s to good music. No matter what you’re feeling on December 31st, I hope some of my favorite tracks of the year can be your background.

The Art of Goals

I am going to begin like I did last year: pen poised, gaze out over the lingering Christmas lights strung through the dark, heart open to all the pulsing possibility of 365 more days. I’m going to dream. I’m going to set my goals like signal flairs—intended less to be reached and more to point me in a new direction. I don’t love failure any more than I did as a kid, but I’m willing now because I’ve seen where it can get me.

Lessons of Winter: Learning How to Heal

Amy sat across the table from me in her little studio apartment. A bowl of tortilla chips and jalapenos slabbed between us. Hot tea on either side. Head between my hands, red eyes and a soaked face full of salty tear streams, trying to catch my breath as I heard myself, for the first time in my life, admit a feeling of loneliness and failure that I had yet to experience.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for When You Need Light

The holiday season has a way of weighing us down. This time of year is supposed to be so full of joy and light and laughter, a time to feel so lucky for all we have. But sometimes all we feel is weight. The weight of loss, of stress, of loneliness, of everything that feels wrong in a season when we just this once want everything to be perfect. We want to go back to easier days, days that don’t strain our shoulders and sit heavy on our hearts. We want to cast off the weight. Even just for a moment. Even just for the amount of time it takes to smile at the twinkle lights glowing through this season that too often is darker than we expected. We want, however briefly, to shed what’s heavy and rise above it into light.

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.

TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for When You're In A Life Transition

I’m in a transition place, and I desperately want to not be. I feel on hold, and I want to get to the good part, where I live on my own in a cool apartment with a comfortable salary. On the other hand, the last years of transition have allowed me to grow into wonderful relationships and fulfilling work. These years haven’t been anything to skip over. They’ve been full. Long, and wearing, but also joyous and real. There’s learning for me here, and so many important people, and I can feel myself transforming, however slowly, into the woman I’ve always hoped to be.

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.

Surviving the Pink Slip

But what happens when climbing the ladder of career success suddenly comes to a halt? How do we respond when your 5 year plan is thrown a curve ball in the form of a pink slip and a cardboard box? No one tells you how to process the words you will never forget, “It’s not working out; we’re letting you go.” I will tell you from personal experience, nothing can top the feeling of failure like being let go without warning.

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.

Before You Burn Your Bridges

I interpreted the advice I received as an excuse to heartlessly cut people and lifestyles out of my life. There were no calm conversations to be had. There were no apologies to ask for. There were absolutely no explanations. Instead there were subtweets, ghosting, and a whole lot of judgement. If you brought negativity to my life by way of gossip or lifestyle differences, not only did I not want you around, I passive aggressively let you know about it through the grapevine.

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.