Breadsticks & Chill

You know happens this week, right?


(Yes, Galentine's Day. Get ready to celebrate, Knope-style.)

Of course, just following that is Valentine's Day. Now, maybe the worst thing about Valentine's Day is that people only fall one of three ways.

You love it. You hate it. You couldn't care less.

I still fall under "love it." Despite a myriad of predictable and occasionally distressing relationships, I've always been single on Valentine's Day. So, my version of love it is based more on the dousing of pink and red, a natural affinity for chocolate, and the idea that there is a whole day on the calendar dedicated to sharing love.

Though, I could just as easily fall under "hate it." I can do a good bitter. I can do a good boo-hoo, lonely heart, men suck. But God, that is so not worth it. I mean, why would you purposely look at a day, and think well that is going to suck because I am not romantically involved with anyone?

No. C'mon. Valentine's Day has become so stupidly complicated. Why can't it be as simple as eating breadsticks with people you like? Who can honestly argue that that is not worth a day on a calendar?

No one.

So, yes, we could stand around and argue all day about it being a Hallmark holiday, how you should be telling the ones you love that you care for them every day, and celebrating them every day, and blah blah blah.

But you know what? Most of us don't reach out enough as it is to everyone in our lives. We don't go out of our way to say, I care about you, I'm proud of you, I'm praying for you, I'm happy for you, I hope you find what you're looking for, I hope you enjoy your day, and 100,000 other renditions of that. We don't. (And if you do, you're a better person than I am, and I hope you're spreading that love far and wide.)

So why not set aside a whole day for that? I think that's awesome. I think getting together with whoever you damn want, and celebrating the fact that they are in your life and that it is awesome, that is a pretty good holiday.


You don't want to buy-in to the chocolates, and the teddy bears, and the cards? Don't.

You wanna go crazy and clear out the entire three aisles in CVS? Do it.

Sure one day I'll be in a relationship, and Valentine's Day will fall on a Tuesday, and I'll be tired, and I'll see the allure of ignoring the whole day. But for now, I'll be wearing red, and eating something heart shaped - probably just veggies and chicken though, let's be honest - and I'll celebrate in my own very single, love it kind of way.


And one more thing, there is no shame in being single on Valentine's Day - so let's just nix that idea right now. There is no reason that you should go out and buy and extra large pizza and sit in your bed and cry. I mean, get pizza, of course. But celebrate that shit. Watch some Game of Thrones, blast some Jonas Brothers. I don't know - but girl, if you have an extra large pizza to yourself, you have literally nothing to cry about. 

Stay Patient, Hustle Hard

Waiting for my dream job to fall into my lap is turning out to be a little bit like waiting for Taylor Swift to call me to go hangout in Nashville. Which is to say, it is totally still possible, and I'm totally going to hold out hope, but that it is increasingly unlikely, so I ought to keep going about my life.


One of the side effects of being, well, a millennial is being constantly under the impression that I have this great big ability to manifest my most perfect life, and if I just work for it, believe in it, and really strive for it, it'll happen. In a few ways, I whole-heartedly believe in the power of that. It's not impossible. Hard and intentional work yields results.

In a few ways, I totally understand why a lot of people would call bullshit on that philosophy.

Like a lot of people though, I do have great big dreams for my life. I do have career goals. I do have things I want to create, and accomplish, and give to this world. I have things that I want to be in my "perfect life." Sometime we'll talk some more about the word perfect, and what I'm really thinking when I say perfect life. But think more like deliriously happy and satisfied over stepford-esque.

I have found, more and more, as I work through this hunt for the seemingly mythical dream job, that sometimes it just doesn't matter how much you want it, and how hard you work, and how qualified you are. Sometimes you're still going to feel stuck. Sometimes you're still going to feel unfulfilled. Sometimes those opportunities that you're searching for in every nook and cranny of the world just aren't going to reveal themselves.


That is hard. That goes against everything I think when I think about hard work pays off, and stay humble, hustle hard, and good things come to those who work. That all forces me to step back - look at what is missing, look at what is going wrong.

I hate to say it, but it might be horrifyingly simple.

I'm 23. That's it.

What's missing? Time.

I have decades worth of working, creating, and achieving ahead of me. The place I'm in now, the job I'm in now, the desert of loneliness I'm strolling through now? That will all change. Maybe thousands of times. Because, I'm 23.

“We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out - that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.” Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories.

If you still haven't read The Opposite of Loneliness, I need you to stop reading this and go grab a copy now. It will make you cry and laugh and feel a thousand wonderful feelings. 

The amazing thing is, it's not too late. I'm not missing out by not being in my dream position. I'm not losing anything by creating where I am, and working with what I've got.

There really is so much time.


It is still daunting to know what you want and not know what path is going to take you there. But you guys, Sheryl was right, this is a jungle gym, not a ladder. I've got places to go, and things to learn, and people to meet - and it won't always be climbing up rung by rung. It will take time, but damn I'm going to keep crossing the money bars.

Because, here's the best part - every time I do get somewhere new, every time I do create something that's been floating in my brain for weeks, every time I can take one step closer to that big bad dream, it's worth it. And it doesn't matter if it's been 6 days, or 9 weeks, or 17 years in the making. When you get there, it's not the time that matters anymore, it's the payoff.

Intentional Jealousy

Jealousy is a natural part of being human.

We want what other's have - status, money, clothes, physique - it is human instinct to want something better than what you have. It inspires growth, aspirations, it forces us to pursue something greater than what is right in front of our noses.

But, when is jealousy too much?

At what point does jealousy crossover from motivating factor to detrimental emotional turmoil? When do you feel jealousy become the invasive fire of envy, and when you feel it, why doesn't that stop us? We understand that jealousy is supposed to be something we don't enjoy. We understand that being green with envy is in poor manners. So, what is it that leaves us stewing over what we want most?

I'm still jealous of things that happened to other people years ago. What is that?

And we never talk about the things we are deeply and inflexibly jealous about. Why is that?


I've been thinking about this, as I work towards more. Because working towards more isn't bad. And inherently, I don't think that looking to others to kickstart myself in to action is bad either. But whether I am working towards more in my career, in how I look, in how I act, or where I stand in any part of my life - when am I hitting the point where jealousy doesn't serve to make me better? Where is the point where jealousy only serves to make me covetous, and unappreciative of what I do have? 

The tricky thing is, I think it changes every day. I think every day I have to focus and remind myself to balance my wants with my haves. I need to look at my life every day and say wow, this is good. Moreover, I have to step back - look at what I'm getting jealous of. I need to shake my eyes open when I'm in a continuous scroll of perfectly captured Instagrams.

Y'all, IG is not real life.

It is one tiny fraction of second treated, edited, and filtered until it looks good enough to share with the entire universe. And I would be lying if I said that I could follow all those perfect land-mermaids, with beautiful balayage waves, and toned tummies, and perfect tans, and hot boyfriends. I can't, I get jealous. It is not even real, and I get jealous.


When I do step back, and when I am being actively aware of the good things that I do have, I find jealousy. Even when I am working towards more, even when I am working towards something "better," and I am conscious of my own effort, I can find thoughts of oh I wish I had that. 

And I realize that my jealousy could always become envy, and it could burn a little green hole in my heart from how much I want something. Maybe even if I focus on the things I am grateful for, I'll still be jealous of other people with salaries, and fianc├ęs, and houses, and dream jobs, and abs. So what does that mean?

Even if we love what we have, and are so grateful for our big wonderful lives, and take pride in working harder for more....even then, will we always still be isolated by the pervasive loneliness of jealousy?


Probably.

So what do we do? We embrace it.

We welcome it in. We learn that it can be the force that propels us through the chip aisle in the grocery store, and a stagnant place at work, and a bad fifth date. We let jealousy be a force greater than passive aggressively tapping a little heart. We force it to work for us, and that burn that settles in our chest becomes a desire to work harder, and smarter, and be more for the sake of jealousy, instead of despite it. 

Proverbs 19:21

I was going to write about waiting on that dream job, and what it means to be actively pursuing your big dreams, and all of that. Then Friday happened, and I got really mad at God and I thought, honestly, what a jerk, why bother bringing really good things into my life if You're only going to take them away a month later?

I realized that is what I need to talk about. (Don't worry, we'll get to dream jobs.)

Here's the thing, I've said before that I really prefer to have things go my way. Don't we all?

I know they can't, and won't, always play out the way that I want them to. But when something big and wonderful happens in your life, or someone pretty stellar comes into your life, or you just feel like things are finally swinging in your favor, it is so much harder to stomach losing them.

And I get pissed sometimes.


I mean, mad. I cried, and I was accusatory, and just so damn angry that it seemed like every good and wonderful thing that had made it's way into my life in the last three months was just poof gone. Just like that. All at once, in one fell swoop.

And that was so unfair. And how could He? And why should I bother? And why would You do that?

Fast forward through going to bed at 8 pm, a long morning of watching TV, a good breakfast, a big cup of coffee, working small wedding, a quiet Sunday, and well, what do we have here? Perspective.

Look, I get it. Sometimes you have to let go of things to get something better. Sometimes people and things only happen to be in your life to teach you something. Sometimes despite everything that you want, you are better without them.

But that is hard. That makes trusting in the plan hard. And, dammit, sometimes it pisses me off.

Perspective though, that always leaves me feeling like okay, slow down, take a deep breath. It takes a day or two, but it always leaves me feeling lighter, calmer, and a little like I was being slightly ridiculous. Never like I was being slightly dramatic, because that's just not me. Obviously. 

Perspective reminds me why I have faith in the first place. Perspective leaves a calm on my heart where all the pain was. Perspective gives me the room I need to refocus, to take a good look at where things really are.


It reminds me that recognizing all that great big joy and love in the lives of other people doesn't mean I won't get there. It reminds me that watching other people succeed and accomplish those big dreams, doesn't mean that I won't do that too. It reminds me that the good things came into my life at all. It reminds me that even if there is pain, even if I am pissed, even if He isn't following the plan that I had, there is more ahead than what lies behind.

I don't know that it is ever going to get easier to make it through these kinds of losses. The kind that you have no control over, and it feels like it's just been ripped away from you, and for good measure, check out Instagram look at all those successful and totally in love people.

I do know that each time this happens, I'm relying more and more on the faith that this is part of plan. This pain serves a purpose. This change will prove to be worth it. Each time I fail, each time I'm rejected, each time I feel like I'm back to square one - no matter how mad I get at Him and His plan, I fall back on that faith. That confidence that there is purpose in my life, even when I feel completely blind to it, that takes time. But it makes all the difference.

I know no matter how many times it feels like all is lost, all it takes is a little perspective and a lot of patience to see the goodness in what comes next.

And I know I am super thankful that there is grace to carry me through some of my more unsavory moments of anger and righteousness before all that good stuff kicks in.


Just a Little Lost

Sometimes when you are in-between a happy place and a very unhappy place, you get a little lost.

I've been a little lost. It's been a little bit like floating around waiting for something really wonderful or really horrible to happen.

Like maybe Nick Jonas is going to waltz in to my life and propose?

But also maybe I'll get side-swiped on the interstate today?

The thing about being lost like this is it's very constant. It's very heavy. It very much leaves you wanting to invest in blankets, and a lot of coffee. It leaves you thinking you'd like to crack open a tub of Ben & Jerry's and not look back, but then you remember you don't have an appetite. It leaves you craving people, and then you remember you just want to be quietly alone. It's very weird to be lost.

The other thing about being lost, it's important to get through it. It's important to give yourself the room to invest in coffee, and wear the same sweatshirt for three days.

So, if you're a little lost this week too, or maybe you just want to come back this when your lost, I have some suggestions:

Drive extra far to get the extra delicious bagel.

Buy yourself some face masks, don't save them just for the sake of saving them.

Clean your bedding. Then get back in bed. Clean sheets are good for the soul.

Leave room for a good nap, a no-guilt good nap.

Get some raspberries, or strawberries, or fruit that maybe is just too pricey in the winter. Eat it all.

Find that awesome song on iTunes, play it really loud, leave it on repeat.

Maybe most importantly, just give yourself some time. I've been this kind of lost before. I'll be this kind of lost again. You just have to keep waiting, you know, for the good thing or the bad thing to happen. It will happen, and you'll make it through that too.

In the meantime, drink your coffee, embrace the quiet, and just keep getting up every morning and doing life. Slowly you will heal, you will find your way. Slowly the weight of being alone, or being not quite enough, it will lessen. Slowly, you won't be so lost.


Juice Juice Baby

You know that thing where December is basically a carb-cookie-and-all-delicious-things free for all?

Then you wake up and it's January, and you're like crap where did this bloat come from?

And then you have flashbacks of cheese dip, and brownies, and a week of eating leftover stuffing?

That is why we have juice cleanses. Seriously. It's not because they taste better than pizza - or really, any solid food. Because they don't. It's because of holidays, and all of the tasty things that somehow became tradition even though they have nothing to do with Jesus, or pilgrims, or the changing calendar.



I had been toying with the idea of purchasing a cleanse for a while now. I signed up for the BluePrint mailing list a while back, and mostly I was just waiting for the right coupon code. And then, one beautiful January morning, there it was, 30% off.

So I did it. I ordered the three-day Renovation Cleanse and set my calendar for a week later. (You can pick your delivery/cleanse date. Which is awesome if you're like me and had weirdly specific plans that revolved around eating a week before. Or, if you're kinder than me, and want to wait to cleanse on a long weekend and spare your co-workers.)

First of all, your 3 day cleanse comes with 18 bottles, (6 a day.) It comes in a 15 pound box, in a cooler bag, surrounded by no less than a dozen ice packs. The Renovation Cleanse is perfect if you already eat your fruits and veggies, you don't really buy chips, and you are ready to reset. (If those aren't you, there is a cleanse that includes a "coffee" option, and is suggested if the idea of juicing spooks you a bit.)


Second of all, there's a bit of prep involved. Easing yourself off dense carbs, animal proteins, dairy, and any refined sugar you are consuming. This is detailed in a totally enjoyable email that doesn't make you feel psychotic for willingly ditching solid foods for three days.

Then, you cleanse.

Obviously it's not easy. It's also not impossible. In fact, considering that I have some perspective now, and I can eat cheese again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I never felt like I was so hungry that I wouldn't live - the juices are super filling. The only thing that I would have changed is having coffee on the first day (you can add your #6 Cashew Milk to make your black coffee tolerable, which I didn't know and totally should've done.)


The biggest side effects? Burping. Whatever, you're sucking in a lot of air, and you burp. Oh, and you pee honestly every 15 minutes.

The best part? I dropped all of my holiday weight. I went back to feeling so energized, and healthy and capable. It was absolutely a full-body reset. And I would 100% do it again.

I also have to say, the juices were so frickin good. Now, as a lover of solid foods, and all of the things on the pre/post cleanse "no list," I was skeptical of the flavor. I kind of thought I would have to choke them down. Not at all. They were smooth, flavorful, they didn't have an aftertaste - so delicious. I have to say, if you are considering a cleanse at all, you need to look in to BluePrint.


As much as I tortured myself during the three days looking at those damn Tasty videos on Facebook. And googling best sandwiches in Burlington. I really enjoyed it, and the end result was more convincing than anything. I mean, I don't look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy anymore, and that's a plus.

And you have to ease yourself back on to solid foods, dense foods, animal proteins etc. So, onestly, there's almost no way that you can come off of a cleanse and go back to shoveling ice cream down your gullet. I mean you could I guess, but you would totally puke.

Ghost-Busting

It really isn't a secret that I struggled through parts of 2015. I think sharing some of those struggles on here was good for me, maybe good for others, and certainly good for the people with which I have tendency to vent.

I have been thinking though - you know, with the end of the year blah blah blah - what was the biggest struggle? And weirdly enough, up until two weeks ago, I didn't have a name for it. I kid you not, I had no idea this term even existed. Then I heard it once (and then like 56 more times, you know how that works? How weird it is when that happens?) and I knew.

Ghosted.

I was ghosted hard, not once, but twice in 2015. Once, by The Asshole. Once, by The Meathead.

Let's back up a little though - I met The Meathead at the end of 2014, just as I was careening through the uh, emotional party-bus, that was The Heartbreaker. So, this era-appropriate casual "relationship" was at the very least, consistent through the 7-9 months between 2014 to early summer of this year.

During this time, I met The Asshole. And there is plenty to be said about pausing a "mutually beneficial, physically rewarding relationship" to actually attempt to date someone. And we could even entertain the idea of what it actually means to date someone who is scared of girlfriends.


But!

What we're getting to here is the common "relationship" theme of 2015: the damn ghosts.

First of all, do you know what ghosting is? It is when all is well and good - things may be casual, but consistent, whether you are dating, FWB, or somewhere in-between - and POOF he disappears. Like a ghost. One day he's there, the next it's like you never swiped right. Especially if he happens to be the kind of weenie that unmatches you in an effort to solidify his ghostly nature.

The worst the part of ghosting should be pretty obvious. For one, you end up being all what in the hell did I do? For two, it's just plain rude. Honestly, break up with me. Tell me you want to see other people. Tell me you're not ready to commit. Hell, tell me you want to strike up a different "mutually beneficial, physically rewarding relationship."

But you know what is shady and rude as all get out? Ghosting.


Here's what happens when you get ghosted though: after you question yourself a lot, after you really commit to not sending that one more text or one more snapchat, after you say a big ol' good riddance! You get to form a much better idea of yourself, and who you want to be with.

I didn't like being ghosted, obviously. It didn't strike up a lot of confidence in who I am. It doesn't make you feel good that you devoted time, energy, loyalty, and just you to someone else, and they can't give you a half ounce of human decency.

It is because I was ghosted though, that I know even when someone walks away from me, unexpected and unexplained, I'm going to be just fine. I know I deserve way better than those kind of guys. I know there is nothing inherently wrong with me. I know that in the truest sense, it was them, not me. I know that anyone who can't be honest enough with you to tell you that they are done, isn't worth worrying about. At all.

Honestly, who wants to be with someone that literally can't manage to do anything better than slink away silently?


They aren't easy lessons to learn. It absolutely was a struggle for me to get through those notions in 2015. And I'm not even close to delusional enough to think that it won't ever happen again. It probably will.

There are a lot of cowards out there. Some of them are gonna ditch you, and when they do, you're going to have embrace the idea that you are so much better off without them as early as possible. Otherwise, it hurts. And you'll doubt yourself. And if there is a single thing I've learned through this whole bizarre non-relationship business it is this: you've got to keep going, so might as well keep being better, stronger, smarter, kinder, and open to whatever comes next.