not now.

IMG_3083

 

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” -Leo Tolstoy

Most of us periodically take some time to stop and look around. We reflect on how we got to where we are, and with whom. We glance in the rearview to see how far we’ve come.

To say the past year wasn’t easy for me is a laughable understatement. I have learned more than I can put into words- both light and dark aspects of life, of love, of human nature- in such a short amount of time. Oh, year-ago me: if you only knew.

There’s one lesson that helped a lot as I struggled to put two feet solidly on the ground again, one in front of the other. As I got the hang of a new normal, of life as a full-time working mom. As I got better at not wincing when people casually asked about my boyfriend, as I got more graceful at laughing it off and encouraging them to send any eligible bachelors my way. As I continue to watch my daughter develop a personality and learn and grow and blossom.

The lesson that has helped most of all is this: ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘not ever.’

It came to me one chilly February morning, tossed out at a seminar with a lot of other really great advice. At a time when I so desperately needed to be reminded of the virtue of patience, of the truth that great things take time. Wine and cheese get better with age- why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t life?

There are plenty of things I don’t have the ability to do right now. They’re expensive or time-consuming or irresponsible. When you have someone else to consider, depending on you like no one ever has before, you start to think the opportunity to do the things you had wanted or dreamed has passed, that the doors are quickly closing on you.

And then you remember: ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘not ever.’

One day, you’ll go on that trip, you’ll buy that house with the wraparound porch you’ve always wanted. You’ll drive across the states and see the Grand Canyon and drink a beer in every state in the country, just like you always thought you would.

One day, you’ll fall in love again.

And then you realize: you get to do all of this with the most wonderful little human being you have ever had the pleasure of knowing. How much sweeter will it all be with them by your side?

You’ll get to do all the ‘not nows’ you want- maybe not now, but someday. You may hit a ‘not ever’ or two; but the truth is, everyone has some ‘not evers.’

A year ago I didn’t fully understand that my life was going to take on a lot of ‘not nows.’ I didn’t really comprehend the way my life would have to shift and brake to adjust to parenthood.

But I’ve come a long way, and when I start to get frustrated or feel like I’m missing out on certain experiences I remind myself: ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘not ever.’

The really good wine and cheese won’t be ready for another few years, anyway.

an open letter to the friends who fade

IMG_0737

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”  ― John Banville

To the friends who’ve faded:

Neither of us is really to blame for the fact that we lost touch. Time had something to do with it. Distance, life. Everything got in the way, despite FaceTime and iMessage. Although other friendships persisted for each of us, ours didn’t.

You pop up every once in a while on my Facebook feed, on Instagram. I see you went to London and he got a new puppy. She moved in with her boyfriend, and someone else moved farrrrr away. They got engaged, and that other couple we swore would make it crashed… hard.

I sometimes wonder if you’re happy, what your day-to-day life is like now. I used to be part of your day-to-day life. Remember that? The stupid, funny, lazy way we saw each other every day? In class, on the sidewalk, in the cafeteria… that was the norm. I wonder what we would say to each other now. Would you still let me steal your French fries?

How’re your parents? I think about them too.

I could message you or text you and say let’s get together and catch up, but we’re such different people now than we used to be. And what if reconnecting was somehow disappointing? Better to just leave the good memories where they are and avoid the risk of turning our once-friendship into an awkward encounter.

I guess what I really want you to know is that I liked having you in my life, even if you wouldn’t think so now. I’ll remember that nickname you gave me and the way you told off anyone who deserved it. I’ll remember the many cups of coffee we shared and the things we suffered through together.

We all just move forward and farther apart, whether we want to or not. The clock ticks and the time we spent together continues to fade away. Before it’s gone altogether, I just wanted you to know that I still think of you sometimes. I see old pictures of us together and I smile. I’d like you to live your life knowing that in whatever way I knew you, in whatever time, you mattered to me.

People grow, friendships fade- and they should. The friends you have in one phase of your life don’t always transfer to the next, and those friends aren’t always the best for you as you move on. But that doesn’t mean they were unimportant in shaping your life into what it is, into who you are.

I miss you, and the times we laughed together. I’ll always be grateful for those, and for how they got me here.

It truly was nice knowing you- cheers.

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.

the myth of grown ups

IMG_2413

“Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.” – Kurt Vonnegut

What they don’t tell you in all of those ‘coming of age’ novels and movies is that there’s no single moment imbued with dramatic tension and building background music after which you say, “yup, I’m an adult now.”

Contrary to what television might have you believe, girls don’t become women the day they get boobs, and boys don’t become men the first time they get laid.

And I can emphatically say, no, you do not become a grown up the day you turn 21. (The raging hangovers and countless regrets that accompany the morning after many a 21st birthday are proof enough of that.)

In reality, the moments in which you make strides toward growing up (and there are many) only make any sense in hindsight. Sometimes, not even then.

You grow up a little the first moment you realize your parents are only human- that they don’t know everything, that they make mistakes. You grow again when you forgive them for that.

You grow up when you feel the sting of betrayal from someone you thought you could trust. Even if that betrayal comes in the form of your best friend taking the last red ice pop.

You grow up every time you definitively lose someone you care about. When you realize that you will never connect with them again in this life, and you feel it deep down in your gut. Permanently.

You grow up when you feel protective over someone else, when you start to put more stock in other’s people’s well-being than your own.

You grow up the day you actively choose what you’ll put your faith in.

You grow up the first time you get your heart properly broken. Not high-school, you-never-even-talked-to-him/her broken. Really shattered. And then you’ll find out what you’re made of the day you bend down to pick up the pieces.

You grow up when you realize no one’s opinion of you matters as much as your own, and that personal happiness is not a selfish concept.

You grow up when you make a decision without consulting anyone else- and whether you triumph or fail miserably, you start to own your actions.

You grow up the first time you feel wholly and truly alone.

You grow up when you realize how very small you are in the universe, but how very big your actions can be to those around you.

You grow up when you learn to embrace your emotions, when you allow yourself to be happy without fear or sad without shame.

You grow, and you grow, and you grow. You graduate and get a job, but those things don’t make you a grown up. Maybe you get married, maybe you earn another degree, but that doesn’t mark your entrance into adulthood.

The truth is, if you do it right, you’ll never really be all grown up despite growing older.

Now, isn’t that a relief?

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

IMG_1613

“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.

IMG_0538

IMG_1210IMG_0632IMG_1290IMG_1572IMG_1366