Inspiration comes in waves, and for me, a wave has not come crashing down in quite some time. To be fair, we’ve been pretty busy over the past six months — traveling, spending time with friends & family, and ya know, getting engaged and planning a wedding — so my hobbies, my me time, this blog have all fallen to the wayside. And to be honest? That’s totally okay.
Year after year, Valentine’s Day comes and goes, and after 26 years, it still makes me cringe a little bit. I guess I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this holiday. The part of it that I love? The celebration of love – my love, as well as the love of those around me. The part that I hate? Everything else.
Last Friday morning, Skyler’s alarm went off early. I dug deeper under the sheets and curled up tightly into the blankets. I had another hour before I even needed to think about getting out of bed. It’s Friday, finally, a day that I’ve been looking forward to since my alarm went off on Monday morning. I was not in the groove last week. I hadn’t been feeling very well, and despite it being an unseasonably warm week, I had been so chilly. And, just like every other winter, I felt so unenergized and frustrated that I rarely see the light of day. It’s usually dark when I wake up, and the sun is normally setting by the time I leave my mostly window-less office. I get into this funk every winter, it never fails.
I’m not a politically outspoken woman. In fact, talking about politics genuinely makes me uncomfortable. It’s not because I’m uninformed or because I lack an opinion or because my belief system is weak. But the truth is much more simple: I believe that every person has the right to their own opinions, even they don’t align with mine. Some people say that’s absurd. But it’s who I am, and it’s not likely to change.
My favorite thing about October is everything. Seriously. It’s a visually stunning month full of crisp mornings and hot ciders and dirty, smooth-skinned pumpkins and bumpy, unattractive gourds, high-energy sports games under the dark sky and bright lights and – most importantly to me – colorful, vivid memories of growing up.
At least once in every person’s life, there is a defining moment. A moment they’ll look back on with the ability to pinpoint the exact circumstances under which they made a decision that would change everything.
And I have a feeling that this is my moment.
To me, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the color, the smell, the look, the feel of it. I especially love the sound.
One of my favorite holiday carols has always been “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and for one particular reason:
Through the years, we all will be together if the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
It may not be Christmas yet, but those words have never rang more true. As some of my dearest friends begin their adventures in Mississippi, New York, and all across the country, I am thankful to have enjoyed one last hoorah with them in Connecticut over the 4th of July. I will always cherish these friendships and the memories we’ve made.
Good luck out there, kids. These are the best days of your life. Go ham sammich.
Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sunday mornings are so serene. They are calm; they are quiet; they are productive. On Sunday mornings, I feel like I can take over the world, that I can do anything I set my mind to. They are introspective. It’s the time that I spend thinking about what I want to do, where I want to be, and all of the steps that I need to take to get there.
Sunday mornings are encouraging. Today, in particular, the sun is dancing through the window, casting hopeful designs on the floor. Spring is almost here, and the chill of winter is slowly fading.
The past few Sunday mornings have been teaching me the importance of “me” time. Taking time to read, to write, to watch trashy TV, to cook — it’s important that I have time to do the things I enjoy. Then, and only then, will I be able to contribute the best version of myself to “we” time, with those I love.
As an average 20-something living in a city in the 21st century, there is little that is out of my reach. I’ve got endless opportunities, and that is both exhilarating and terrifying. I can do anything… but what is it, exactly, that I want?
Although I’m young, I have an idea of what I want from life. I didn’t always, but as I grow, my goals and aspirations come into focus more clearly. I want to experience the world, I want a family, and I want career I’d be proud to hang my hat on.
In Hollywood (think: Eat, Pray, Love), “aha” moments are beautiful and dramatic. They come after a long period of time spent trying to find oneself. My “aha” moments, on the other hand, are mostly just dramatic, following a period of intense frustration and mental breakdowns. They happen in my car, in my bedroom, and across the table at dinner.
I’m thankful for these messy moments, and here is why: I’ve never had to find myself inside the parameters of the perfect situation. I don’t need to be doing yoga in the East or eating a perfectly prepared meal in Italy to understand who I am and what I want. I’m in control.
My most recent “aha” moment happened on Valentine’s Day. I had just ended a breathy rant about my career frustrations, and how I could turn what I love into what I live. (You know that saying? “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That. I want that.) The gist of the response that received: Do it. Boom. There it was. In that moment, surrounded by dozens of couples wearing red and trying to speak French to the waiters, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I can create the future that I want; I don’t have to find it. That was an empowering “aha” moment.
So, before you book your flight to Bali to find yourself, take a minute to think about what kind of self you can create.
Today, I’m thankful for my grandmother. Grannybird, if you will.
My whole life, Granny has been someone I could count on. When I was young, I remember meeting her in a Friendly’s parking lot in Gettysburg. It was the halfway point between home and Frederick, so it became the place that my mom or dad would drop Tyler and I off to go spend the weekend on the farm. Every Christmas, she’d read me Mr. Willoby’s Christmas Tree. As I grew older, her steadfastness never faltered. She gave me my first glass of wine, and she taught me how to make homemade mashed potatoes. (Although, we still disagree on how much butter is “too much” butter.) For my 16th birthday, she strutted her stuff all over New York City. A few months later, I was nervous to bring my first boyfriend over, but she didn’t hesitate to accept him with open arms. (To this day, a picture of Nate Lebo in front of a closed bar in New Orleans remains stapled to the picture board in the kitchen.) She made the drive to Carlisle for a picture or two before every dance during my high school years, and when graduation came around, she excitedly boarded a plane with me and we jet-setted to Paris. With my first year of college came many transitions, and she helped me through every one. She then supported me in my difficult decision to transfer to Pitt. I have now lived in Pittsburgh for over four years, and she has physically helped me move twice, visited a large handful of times, stocked my kitchen with groceries, and listened to my tearful “What am I going to do with my life?” phone calls. She drove through the awful winter weather to support me as I received my college diploma, and throughout my lifetime, she’s given me gifts that I’ll never be able to repay.
Today, she did it again.
Although I’ve never lived just down the road from her, she has always been such an important part of my life. We have traditions and inside jokes and we know each other’s history. She’s strong and steady, adventurous and a creature of habit, all at the same time. I talk to her like she’s one of my best friends, and maybe that’s because she’s my grandmother, and she is.
I’m thankful every day for the things she’s taught me, the traits she’s passed on to me, and the opportunities she’s given me.
Thank you, Bird. You’re my #1.