choosing change

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“Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.” – Jack Kerouac

What do you do when your whole life is about to change from everything comfortable and familiar to everything you never expected?

Sometimes you have the luxury of foresight; the second you stepped onto a school campus, you knew graduation was the inevitable end to your time at that place. Sometimes, you don’t have any warning and life changes more quickly and quite differently than you ever would have thought.

Either way, planned or by surprise, changes can be exciting or scary, positive or negative, simple or complicated. In most cases, all of the above.

The critical question is this- what do you do when nothing will ever be the way it was again?

Ultimately, there are two kinds of people – and two ways to answer the question.

There are those who are paralyzed by change and those who are propelled by it. There are those who embrace their future and those who cling to their useless plans of what they thought the future would hold.

There are those who continue to write the story of their own life, and those who obsess pointlessly about the typos and mistakes they made along the way.

Some people might be hardwired to respond to change in certain ways, but at the end of the day we each choose which of these categories we fall into.

If everything in our lives is predetermined, I guess that’s an easy way to blame fate for our problems. Maybe some things are meant to happen to us.

But I have to believe that, even if that’s true, we can choose how we will respond to what life throws at us.

We can choose whether to meet the challenges head on or to curl up and let them wash over us.

We can choose to respond with love and an embrace of life’s insanity or to respond with defeat, exhaustion and fear.

We can choose to blame the stars and the fates for our difficulties or we can laugh and learn from our mistakes and our past to make them a meaningful part of who we are.

When your whole life’s about to change, there’s only one course of action that makes sense-

Be grateful for where you’ve been, and never forget the things you’ve learned and the people you’ve met on your journey to the tipping point. Even the ones who hurt you played a role in getting you here.

Remember that the best laid plans are wiped clean in an instant for tons of people every day, and that you are not composed solely of your mistakes.

Take courage in the fact that although you can’t control what happens TO you, you control what you’ll do about it.

With a deep breath and the acceptance that you will never truly know where your life will be tomorrow, choose to embrace whatever life brings your way with conviction.

Deny yourself neither happiness nor sorrow, love nor loss.

Most importantly, be in love with your life. Every minute of it.

take me back. 

Take me back to
Scottish isles
And rolling hills of green-
To simpler days
And summer haze
And all the things I’ve seen.

 

Take me back to
Ancient towers
And ceramic seas of red-
To carefree times
And streets sublime
And all the things you said.

 

Take me back to
Where I was
To jog my memory-
Of who was there
When life was fair
And who I used to be.

Suck it up, Millennials: Embrace your twenty-something-ness

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“15 ways you know you’re a suffering twenty-something”

“7 daily awful things every twenty-something can relate to”

“20 reasons a twenty-something wouldn’t survive the Hunger Games”

All I see on social media lately are reasons why life in your twenties is hard. Our generation is taking to the Internet to express through lists and gif sets why they are miserable, tired and worthy of pity. No career, some college debt, unlucky in love, unsure of oneself. Thought Catalog and BuzzFeed have us all convinced that between post-graduation and pre-30s, life is a mess of hopeless wine guzzling and Ramen noodles.

Suck it up, millennials.

You’re scared? So is everyone else. Every single one of us is worried we’re never going to get a job we actually like.

You don’t have a career yet? DUH. Careers take years of hard work. You might be 40 before you find your true calling. And that’s fine. But your dream job is not going to knock on your door in the middle of your Parks and Recreation binge-watch on Netflix.

College debt? Join the club, we have t-shirts. Unlucky in love? Just remember there’s a dating site for those aged 50+ so you’re probably doing fine.

Unsure of yourself? GOOD. Continue to test yourself, push your limits, surprise everyone, and find out what you’re truly capable of.

Stop complaining about how hard life is for 20-somethings today.

Because even though we’re all still figuring it out, we have a few things going for us: we’re not alone, we’re still young enough to bounce back from failure, and our lives are still full of possibilities.

We don’t know what our lives will be like a year from now. And yeah, that’s terrifying. But it’s also the most freeing and wonderful feeling in the world.

Yes, you have to work hard. Yes, you might have to live in a shitty apartment and have a job right after college that isn’t what you hoped for. And yes, there will probably be days  that are a mess of hopeless wine guzzling and Ramen noodles.

But, for the love of God, you’re a 20-something. There is so much of your life to be lived, and there’s no telling where it might take you. Stop obsessing over insecurities and uncertainties every one of us is facing and enjoy the ride.

(Hopefully I can take my own advice.)

525,600 minutes later

IMG_1328“525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year?”

The end of 2013 is quickly approaching, and just like any other year (however arbitrary that measure of time is) you start to think about how much is different, and how much is the same. Thinking about what’s happened in the past 12 months is enough to make anyone’s head spin. 

2013 was the year I cruelly and selfishly broke someone else to heal myself, and ran from the guilt. It was the year I hugged some of my best friends goodbye on the morning of their graduation and then cried like a baby as soon as they left their apartment.

It was the year I found happiness in London and spent the 4th of July playing foozeball in a pub with the owners after-hours while Rebecca poured her own beer and Victoria flirted with the bartender. It was the year I turned 21, fell unexpectedly but not reluctantly in love, and discovered a passion for pastels.

It was an entire year without Chris and Mr. G, but a whole year with William and Chase.

So, okay, Rent: how do you measure a year? Is there an equation to determine how much you lost, how much you gained? Is there a way to tell how much you’ve changed? Because I know I am not the same person I was last December- and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

Self assessment: since last year, I’m happier but more scared about the future. I get less stressed about the little things but more stressed about what it all means. I’m better at giving myself credit but just as bad at opening bottles of wine.

Benjamin Franklin, that wise, bald man, said something along the lines of ‘when you’re finished changing, you’re finished.’ I couldn’t agree more, Benny. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much I’ve changed- that I’ve changed is enough. And I’m nowhere near ‘finished.’

Maybe I’ll remember 2013 as the year I was ecstatic that I got to be a bridesmaid at Taylor’s wedding, despite the pit in all of our stomachs that one Donato was conspicuously and painfully absent.

Maybe I’ll remember that The Ionian won Organization of the Year and we celebrated with custom-made shot glasses, a scrapbook, and a gin bucket at Meg’s.

Maybe I’ll think of moving into our senior year apartment the day after my 21st, hungover as only a new 21-year-old can be, my parents pointing at me and saying, “do you see what happens when you drink too much?” to my little sister.

I can’t tell you what will come to mind first when I look back on 2013 a few years from now. But I will remember that these 525,600 minutes have changed me- for, I think, the better. I hope I can say the same next December.

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