Getting Lost

(I apologize because even after wracking my brain for an alternate title, I am unable to use any pun besides the one that is so obvious, but also the most appropriate.)

This past weekend, my best friends came to town, and together, we got lost. We attended the inaugural Lost Lake Festival in downtown Phoenix, a first-of-its-kind-at-least-for-the-Valley concoction of music, food, drinks, and experiences that culminated in one blissful weekend of forgetting about real life for a little while and losing yourself in the here and now.

I realize that sounds really hippie-dippie, and while there certainly were people there who indulged in that kind of quest to lose themselves, we were not among them. We were among those who instead took the three day festival as a chance to lose ourselves in laughter, in light, and in, of course, really good music.

Now, with my voice still somewhat gone, my apartment finally back in order, and my cat shunning me for making her interact with more than one other person, I reflect on the past weekend with nothing but absolute nostalgia and incredible gratitude. 

Our decision to go to Lost Lake was a little spontaneous, but we bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale back in April and have very much used this weekend as something to look forward to, especially as October ramped up and got, in a word, nuts. We used Lost Lake as an excuse to reunite, an excuse to eat a lot of carbs, and an excuse to, for lack of a better phrase, act our age. 

There’s a strange phenomenon in this world, particularly in people I know, where we don’t always get the chance to act like the twenty-somethings that we are. I’m not saying I always want to be that person, but every once in a while, it’s good, refreshing, and necessary to just let go.

There are times where work can be incredibly stressful, the world can feel unbearably heavy, heartbreak and grief can overwhelm us, and things just generally feel like a bit too much. I’m not saying those moments don’t, or shouldn’t exist. In fact, without them, it would make appreciating moments like the ones we experienced this weekend much more difficult. But even in the wake of the turmoil, stress, and pain, there is always immeasurable hope. We can choose to see that hope anywhere: in the spirit of a kind friend, the message of an impactful artist, or in the tinny ring of laughter. 

I’ve always looked at music as a way for humans to connect. In every performance, be it an entire set or just one song, there is always that moment where everybody is singing in absolute unison, soaking in whatever emotion that particular artist meant to get across at that time. Music offers us a way to find our similarities, and even make our differences less foreboding. 

Getting to spend three full days basking in the truthfulness and wonderfulness of that was so rewarding, and incredibly refreshing. 

Getting to spend it with some of the people who mean the most to me made it that much better.

So, thank you, Lost Lake. Thank you for bringing us together — both my friends, and the strangers we got to experience it all with. Thank you for shining light on what may be dark, and for further illuminating what is already iridescent. Thank you for reminding us that there is always good, always friendship, and always laughter.

Thank you for recharging my batteries and being a tangible reminder of what to focus on when life gets to be a lot to handle.

Thank you for being one of the best weekends ever.

Just… thank you.

23 Things

I initially wanted to start this post as 23 things I want to do while I’m 23, but I have a bit of an issue with such resolution-type posts… mainly because life is entirely too unpredictable to commit to such a lengthy list.

So instead, in the spirit of learning lessons and growing from them, I decided to reflect on the 23 things I learned before turning 23:

  1. When torn between going to the gym or spending time with people you love, pick the latter. The miles can be run some other time; the memories are far more precious.
  2. That said, when you feel like you need some alone time, don’t be afraid to take it. We can’t be social all the time, and sometimes, it’s okay to make yourself a priority and recharge your batteries. Your mental health will thank you.
  3. That said: don’t be afraid to talk about your health, mental or otherwise. If something hurts, go to a doctor. They’ll fix it, or at least give you options to do so. If you’re struggling emotionally, there is nothing wrong with confiding in someone, be it personally or professionally. We are human beings, and inherently flawed as such. There is no harm, or shame, in admitting that we aren’t perfect and we need help. Everyone will at some point or another.
  4. Taylor Swift has the perfect song for every occasion. I don’t care what anyone says, I will always love her songs for being so relatable.
  5. Some things are better left unsaid, like your not-so-positive opinion of someone’s outfit. Other things, especially the hard things, need to be spoken. No matter the consequence.
  6. Traveling is exciting, invigorating, and an essential part of life – but it is just as important to take the time to be rooted, and relax.
  7. You won’t stay in touch with everyone, no matter how close you were at one point or another. Social media has made it much easier to keep up with people, but there’s a difference between liking every Facebook post and actually knowing what’s going on in their lives.
  8. Then again, when you meet the people who matter most, no amount of distance or time spent apart can sever that bond.
  9. Music can create some of the best connections. So can food.
  10. Pineapple does not belong on pizza.
  11. Loss is an unavoidable truth of life. Whether its the loss of your favorite keychain, losing a game, or the painful loss of a loved one – each loss will help shape us. Maybe we find a new favorite keychain, or learn to stop trying to play the game we just aren’t good at, or a new community who help pull you through a season of grief. Loss will happen, but good can certainly come from it.
  12. Some people will never forgive you for your transgressions. These are the same people who won’t see that you had good intentions even if you mishandle a situation, or let you forget about that time you said something you didn’t entirely mean. These aren’t the people whose opinions should matter.
  13. It’s not as easy to live without a washer and dryer (and dishwasher) as you might think.
  14. Social media is a highlight reel. It’s also a wonderful vessel for communication and a tool to express yourself. Also, most people don’t care if you double post on Instagram.
  15. Sentimental jewelry is worth investing in. Maybe it was frivolous to spend thirty pounds on a Claddagh ring from that tiny silver shoppe in Scotland, but I’ve worn that ring proudly every day as a reminder of both my grandmother’s Scottish heritage and the amazing adventure I took to Edinburgh.
  16. Not all great wine comes in expensive bottles. (However, my favorite wine does.)
  17. Having lofty dreams is totally cool. Having unrealistic expectations is not.
  18. Sometimes, the vision you had for your life at a certain point won’t pan out the way you thought it would… and it will turn out better than you could have imagined. No, I’m not living in London and writing a glamorous travel blog like I once thought I’d be by 23. Instead, I’m dwelling in the desert, quietly exploring new places and experiencing new things, and absolutely loving life.
  19. It’s important to make sure you don’t accidentally select the Uber Pool option. Otherwise, you and your friend might end up in a questionable part of Queens with a bunch of people you don’t know.
  20. Turning away from God during hard times might seem like the easy solution, but it’s absolutely the wrong one. Even if we are angry at Him for putting us through a certain season, we need to turn to Him for guidance. He has reasons, and a plan. Trusting in Him will make everything easier.
  21. The finest things in life are family and friends.
  22. Never buy a romper that is not stretchy enough to step out of without getting entirely undressed. Also, never buy a romper that ties in the back.
  23. The best kind of love shows up when you least expect it.

Here’s to another 365 more days around the sun, and to 24 life lessons to share a year from now.