Fitting Friends In

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Let me preface this with the obvious: ideally, friendship is not something you have to “fit in” to your schedule. However, life is funny, and inconvenient, and uncooperative sometimes and in those cases, friendship, just like anything else, can take some work.

I feel like this is especially the case as us twenty-somethings start to tackle adulthood head-on. Every time I talk to people lately, it seems we’re answering the question “How are you?” in the exact same way: “I’m busy.”

Busyness is certainly something to be acknowledged in our culture, but that’s probably a blog post for another day. Whether it should be this way or not, there’s no denying that our age group is consumed by the concept, the allure, and the stress of being constantly busy. I’ve done a lot of thinking on this lately, and I think it’s a combination of being physically busy, and never turning off. (That said, I’ve made a pact to do “switch-off Sundays,” during which I turn my phone off and take a bath and read a book, a sort of digital detox to start my week off right. It’s done wonders for my mental clarity.)

Anyways, I’m getting off subject.

The point is, we’re all inherently busy, and as twenty-somethings, I think we’re still smack-dab in the middle of the required learning curve for dealing with said busyness. That can take a toll, on ourselves, and on our friendships.

One solution?

Fit friendships in. 

It doesn’t sound natural to have to schedule in fun but, let’s be honest — between work meetings, workouts, church commitments, date nights, and family time, it can be easy to let something slip.

My pro tip: don’t let it be your friendships. 

Community is so important. Time with your best girls keeps us grounded, and offers important perspective we might not get from the people we see each and every day. And as much as I love my group texts, nothing replaces laughing together over some charcuterie and sav blanc.

Or FaceTime. Can I just give Apple a huge shout out for enabling us to stay in face-to-face contact so unbelievable easily? (Actually, I suppose that shout out really belongs to whomever invented the first video chat, and giving the kudos to Apple is akin to thanking Kleenex for creating facial tissue. Man, branding is a tricky business.)

Ramble about video chats aside, I really am so appreciative for them. Sometimes, it’s just not physically feasible to get together in person — for example, due to a certain Shining Twin living a few too many states away. And while that might not be the best example, considering her and I literally work opposite schedules, when we do get a time to connect via video, it’s the biggest blessing. And if that’s what it takes to fit friends in, then by all means, I’ll do it.

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect at fitting friends in. I’m an ambivert by nature, so while I love, love, love socializing, there are certainly times when I’d prefer to block out the word in favor of curling up on the couch with some tea and Netflix.

But I always feel better after some solid friendship time. After all, spending time with loved ones is just as important as eating well, getting exercise, and sleeping enough.

So fit it in.

If anything, you’ll never be sorry for spending a little extra time with the people you love the most.

Back to School: How I Do It, Now That I’m Out

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I haven’t been in school since I graduated from Arizona State back in May of 2016. That’s just over 2 years ago (wow… let me pause for a second to let that truth sink in. It definitely doesn’t feel nearly that long!)

However, despite the fact that I have no reason to purchase such things, I always get sucked in by back to school sales. I’ve always loved school supplies — but I guess now I should start calling them office supplies. Or maybe that’s just another way to justify the obsession.

Anyways.

Like I said, back-to-school sales always catch my eye. How can they not? From the middle of July to the middle of September, it seems you can’t get away from the back-to-school advertising, no matter where you look. (And by the time you do get a break from that madness, all of the fall decor comes out… which is an obsession of an entirely different level, and a blog post for another day.)

This year, I decided that just because I’m not technically going back to school, it doesn’t mean that I can’t capitalize on the mindset.

I think part of the reason I’ve always been pretty gung-ho about back to school — besides the fact that as a bookworm I had an inherently nerdy excitement engrained in me about getting back into the classroom — is because August always feels like my New Years. (More on that in this post.)

That said, I rounded up my top three ways to capitalize on the back-to-school mindset, even if you aren’t on your way back to the classroom:

Replenish your supplies
We all have an office of some kind. Whether it’s in a building full of accountants and lawyers and other PR people, like mine is, or whether it’s in the cozy corner of your living room, like my home one also is, you’ve got a place to sit down and get ish done.

I’ve always felt way more productive if I treat my workspace like an extension of my home (which, when it comes to my living room office, it kind of is). I keep it clean and organized, and I keep its supplies as well stocked as I keep my pantry. That means pens, paper, planners, the works.

And who says you have to be a student to take advantage of the student savings? Grab those pens that are on sale for a dollar and treat yourself to a new planner. You’ll be amazed at how much more organized your life feels once you’ve replaced your dwindling supply of paper.

Set some goals – or check in on the ones you have
Even though it’s not technically the middle of the year, I feel like most people look at the start of school as the halfway point. Kind of like how people look at Memorial Day as the start of summer, even if that’s not officially for another month, give or take. We humans like to take the Gregorian calendar more like a guideline, apparently.

So, while we’re playing with time, you might as well use this halfway point as a check-in on any big goals you’ve set for yourself this year. Or, if you’re a summer birthday like me, or simply couldn’t decide what you wanted to accomplish on January 1, or maybe your priorities have shifted a bit, now’s as good a time as any to reset, and outline new goals for the coming months.

Besides, planners are on sale, so why not add one to your restocking shopping list, and plan out a way to crush the next six months or so? (Until, of course, more planners go on sale at the end of the calendar year. I’m not a big January resolution person, but even I appreciate that there’s two time a year where you can justify buying a new planner.)

Readjust your schedule
Whether you’re on a school schedule or not, summer throws everything off. It’s just a natural time for vacations (thanks to that aforementioned school schedule, which apparently gets engrained in our minds), and in most of the country, it’s a time to spend less time indoors — aka, working — and more time outdoors… unless you’re living in the desert, but I digress.

Regardless, it feels like no matter what, summer is a time when we’re all a little lax with our sleep schedules, our workout regimens, and our vacation time. So take advantage of the fact that half the world is now adhering to the ring of the school bell, and adjust your schedule to one that makes you as productive (and happy!) as possible. Most industries will be in crunch time until the holidays now — weird how that works out, isn’t it? — and while your kid-toting coworkers are adjusting their schedules, it’s worth taking some time to look at your own, as well. For me, that means getting a bit stricter with my running schedule and meal prep, and remembering to take my weekends to actually take a break.

Someday, I’m sure back to school will actually be a part of my routine again, just not for myself. (Side note to anyone that wants to pounce on that comment – that someday is still quite a ways away.) But for now, I’ll take advantage of the cheap school… okay, fine, office… supplies and the refreshed mindset of those around me to readjust and get ready to do some damage to my goals for the next half of the year.

2 Years, 2 Lessons, 2 Words

Facebook memories are wild, y’all. Mine keep popping up to remind me that 2 years ago, I graduated from college.

Two years!? Are you kidding me?! 

On the one hand, it doesn’t feel like that’s even remotely possible. I still feel like a baby adult, just barely sprung from the comforts of college, with not nearly enough of this “real world” thing figured out to have been away from school so long.

(And, yes, I do realize that 2 years is really not that long in the grand scheme of things. But in the short-term, that feels pretty long-term.)

As I’ve reflected on the many, many pictures that Facebook has brought back to life, and as I’ve perused through the many, many other pictures of those younger than me in caps and gowns, I’ve also reflected on what I’ve learned in the past two years. I don’t know if there’s an adequate way to sum it all up, because if there’s a blanket theme here, it’s that these first couple of years truly on your own are so incredibly instrumental. I have learned more in the past twenty-four months than I ever could have expected. It’s true what they say: you never really do stop learning. It’s just that the lessons change.

However, I am going to ever-so-humbly attempt to sum up the countless lessons I’ve learned since graduating with two words. It’s two words for two main lessons learned in the past two years:

Speak up. 

These words, I’ve discovered, can be applied to the two main facets of life post-graduation: professional and personal.

Professionally, this one is probably pretty obvious, and I likely sound like a broken record of any professional development course for young professionals. I was told this so many times when I leapt into the full-time world. “Speak up,” they told me, “make your voice heard.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but that concept is incredibly intimidating, especially for a fresh graduate. It’s likely your first full-time job in your chosen profession, and you’re likely nervous, and you’re most definitely still figuring things out.

And there everyone is, telling you to speak up.

Well, I hate to tell you this… but they’re right.

It’s not, however, just speaking up about the big things. It’s not necessarily throwing out some wild and crazy radical idea that is going to entirely change the trajectory of a project or an account (although, sometimes, it is). Sometimes, it’s just as important to speak up about the little things. Don’t let the smallest things go unnoticed – point it out. Now, keep in mind I speak from the role of a PR professional here, but I’m sure there’s parallel ways to apply this concept. Don’t let an extra apostrophe go unmarked, just because it’s in a release written by someone above you. If you think a particular sentence is worded strangely, say something. If you notice that there’s a hashtag getting more use than the one that’s in that social post, suggest it. Speaking up doesn’t need to always be monumental. It can be small – sometimes, the quietest behind-the-scenes voices are the loudest.

That said, it’s also important to speak up about your professional needs. Do you need a little extra guidance on something? Would you feel better if someone reread that email for the fifth time before you hit “send” for the client? There is no harm in asking. The worst thing they’ll ever say is no.

The same thing goes for your personal life. Speak up. In some ways, I feel like this can be even more intimidating in your personal circle. Opinions are everywhere and the internet has just given us an even louder void to shout into (I can say that – this blog is one of those voices.)

But it’s so important to let your own voice be heard… especially by yourself.

College is a wonderful time for gaining knowledge, but it’s when you start to apply that knowledge that you really figure out what you think about it. Don’t get me wrong – I think a lot of our core opinions are formed in school and in what we learn from school, but as with anything you learn, it’s when you apply it that it really begins to click (or so they used to tell me in math class.)

Speaking up in your personal circle also encourages healthy conversation, and sometimes debate. It’s important to know the opinions of those you love most, and how to get past disagreements… because inevitably, there will be some, even about the smallest of things but more likely about the big ones.

Beyond opinions, though, it’s so important to speak up and just tell them you love them… or that you’re mad at them… when you want to spend more time with them… when you need a little space. Verbalizing our heartfelt thoughts and genuinely formed opinions is a crucial element of adult relationships, and as an adult, those relationships are an essential part of thriving.

So speak up. It’s the two-word phrase that I can offer to any graduate. Be it personally or professionally, just make sure that your voice is heard.

It matters.

So do you.

Oh, and congratulations.

Put The Phone Down

I will be the first to admit that I am a little bit addicted to my phone. Ask anyone who knows me — they will probably agree, and I don’t mind if they do. I know I’m not alone in this addiction, not that such a fact makes things any better. But it is a fact, nonetheless, and an inherent truth about the generation in which I was raised. I grew up alongside the smartphone, I evolved as it did, and now, it seems literally impossible to live without it.

Now, let me clarify something. When I say “impossible,” I mean that quite literally. So much of our lives — personally, professionally, what have you — depend on our phones. Think about it. How much of your life would be dramatically impacted if you had to leave the phone at home? For one day! One 24 hour period!

It’s hard. It’s downright near impossible.

And that is really unfortunate.

The more aware I’ve become of my phone addiction, the more it bothers me. Now, I know that the true key to breaking a bad habit is to quit cold turkey, but as doing so would massively impact my productivity, I don’t know if that’s a feasible option right now. That said, I have been challenging myself lately to find times where I can go without.

Now, there are of course already certain times where having my phone anywhere near me is entirely out of the question. I put it away any time that I’m at church or writing in my journal or reading the Bible. I put it away for family dinners and other “important” events. But what’s to say that I shouldn’t deem every dinner important, every event worthy of my full attention? Especially things where it feels so natural to have my phone with me because, frankly, I always have.

Take date night, for example. This is one that I’m especially aware of because it feels really unfair to keep my phone out. I generally try to keep it in my purse, but I am guilty of mindlessly scrolling while we’re driving, or waiting to be seated. The boy is incredible with how little he uses his phone in general. He, I’d say, is definitely not addicted. So I try to pay him the same respect when we have dates. There are even some dates that I put the phone away altogether. I’ll switch it off (but not before texting my mom and my best friends that they can reach me via him if she needs to, because that, too, is a state of the world in which we live… being unreachable is unthinkable).

Or, just lounging around the house. Back when I did my 40 days without Netflix, I also started to challenge myself to put my phone out of reach when I didn’t need it. If I’m reading, I try to keep my phone on the charger, out of arm’s length. If the boy and I are cozying up to watch Pokemon, I’ll put my phone on a different table.

Now, I’m not saying I’m great at doing it all the time. In fact, more often than not, I must admit that my phone is still glued to my hand, but I am certainly attempting to be more conscious about it… which, inherently, leads me to be more conscious about life, in general. And I love that.

So, I’m curious. Do you have a phone addiction? What steps do you take to break away from the screen?

Getting Over The Overwhelming

Have you ever had one of those weeks? Or maybe months? Years? One of those stretches of times that feels like a little bit too much? 

In the spirit of honesty and transparency (two things I am a big advocate for, especially in the social media world), I spent the last week or so in the middle of one of those trials. I’m slowly climbing out of it, seeing the so-called light at the end of the tunnel, but that never makes it more fun.

So, it’s time for some #realtalk:

I get overwhelmed often. I cry easily, especially at the unexpected — anyone who has spent significant time with me can attest to this. I don’t handle teasing well. I get stressed too quickly, before I really have time to analyze if it’s worth getting stressed over at all.

Reading that description now, I’m actually a bit of a mess, aren’t I?

When I go through a particularly trying time, all of these less-than-ideal qualities about myself seem to heighten. I know I’m not alone in this, but when you’re feeling particularly crabby or mean, it’s really easy to think you’re just the meanest person in the entire world, and that adds an entirely new level of feeling rubbish.

(That said, I’d like to take a time-out to thank the people who deal with me in these situations. My boyfriend is a saint, my boss is an incredible mentor, and my best friends are wonderful cheerleaders. So, thank you. Intermission over.)

As I continue to grow in myself, and as I further learn who I really am, I’ve also come to learn techniques that work for me to deal with particularly overwhelming obstacles. Now, everyone’s different. What works for me might not work for you, but I wanted to take some time to share what I do to calm myself down and regain balance, focus, and control:

  1. Get some fresh air. This one actually comes courtesy of my boss, who has, in more than one stressed-out scenario, instructed me to go for a quick jaunt around the building. I’m trying to do this in more than just work circumstances, too. For example, yesterday I was growing increasingly frustrated at random things, so I put on my tennis shoes and hit the pavement. I pounded out a fast, lung-burning mile, and when I came back, I felt so much better. It’s amazing what even ten minutes of fresh air and an elevated heart rate can do.
  2. Eat something healthy. There’s this cultural impulse to reach for “comfort food” when the going gets tough. Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in the healing power of chocolate and am incredibly grateful when the boy offers to order pizza after a particularly long day so I don’t have to cook. But sometimes those things just make me feel worse — now, on top of stressed, I’m bloated and greasy. Sometimes, depending on what my body wants, reaching for a gigantic, leafy, colorful salad makes me feel more in control, more energized, and generally better.
  3. Cry it out. Sometimes you’ve just gotta let it out. There’s such a strong emotional release that comes with crying, and I certainly need to just let that happen sometimes. Sure, the cat looks at me like I’m crazy as I empty the dishwasher with tears streaming down my face, but as soon as the tears have stopped, I feel instantly better. (Well, almost instantly. I sometimes have to take a nap first. Does crying make anyone else feel utterly exhausted?!)
  4. Vent. Whether it’s to a person, to a pet, to a diary, or to the random readers on the Internet. Letting out what’s getting you down can be incredibly cathartic, even if no resolution to your problem comes of it. In fact, 9 times out of 10, venting does nothing to solve anything, but it does make you feel better. This is one tip I’m trying really hard to get better at letting myself do. I tend to write off my own problems as silly or not that important. I tend to see that others have it much worse than me, so why should I complain? But, as the people who love me often remind me, it’s not necessarily complaining if it’s your truth, and your support circle is there to listen. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting it off your chest.
  5. Trust. (Now, this can go many ways, depending on your beliefs or your faith or what have you, but remember, I’m talking about what works for me here.) I turn to God, and I pray for the strength to trust His plan. He knows where whatever trial I’m going through is leading me, and I just have to trust that He will see me through it. It’s certainly not the easiest process, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sometimes make it even more frustrating, as patience is not my strong point. But I do find that when I lay into that trust and allow Him to guide me, blindly, to what He has in store. Usually, when He gets me there, it’s so much sweeter than I ever could have imagined.

Like I said, I’m not trying to proclaim these as the end-all-be-all solutions for managing stress. But this is what works for me. As I’ve grown in myself, I’ve grown in these habits, too, and I am proud to say that (I think, at least) I handle stress significantly better now than I did, say, five years ago.

I implore you to find what works for you. And if you’ve already got a method for handling life’s madness, drop a note below! I’d love to hear what works for you.

Turning Pages

Happy 2018! It is weird to think that the holidays are officially over, and that it’s time to turn the page and start anew. Or so it goes.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of New Years. I think it’s a slightly overrated holiday, with slightly exaggerated expectations that tend to lead to slight disappointments, and that’s not how I think you should go into a new year feeling. That’s not to say I don’t have fun on New Years – I’ve certainly had some great ones and I will never say no to an excuse for champagne. Last night, the boy and I got together with friends and drank a lot of prosecco (or, at least, I did), and I got to kiss him at midnight for the second year in a row. I certainly can’t complain about that.

But after the party and that midnight kiss, the next questions tends to roll around: what are your resolutions for this year?

And that’s where I stop celebrating. I don’t really believe in resolutions. I think, if you’re going to start doing something, why wait until the turn of a calendar to do it? I also think that there’s an unnecessary pressure that comes with a New Years resolution, very similar to that of New Years Eve. There’s just a somewhat stressful expectation of the “results” you’ll see come this time next year, and I feel like that pressure is exactly why a lot of resolutions don’t actually get resolved.

So instead, I’m heading into 2018 with a couple of very simple goals for myself: read more and write more. I used to go through a book a week, but as life became more hectic than it was in high school it became a lot easier to just flip on a screen after work and zone out that way. But every time I do get sucked into a good book, I remember exactly what I love about reading in the first place. I love using my imagination to dream up what I think the author is envisioning, and I love the satisfaction of turning the final page (or swiping through the last line on my Kindle).

I’m not setting any sort of goal to read x amount of books a month or anything: I’m just encouraging myself to pick up the book on my coffee table instead of the remote.

I think that will, in turn, help me towards my second goal of writing more. I have noticed that I tend to write more when I read more (funny how that works, right?) and therefore, the two goals go hand-in-hand. Again, I’m not setting out to finish a novel (though that is still on my general list of goals), but I just want to pick up a pen more, or put my fingers to the keyboard. Whether it’s journaling, or prayer, or blogging, or creative, I just want to put words out there, and see what may become of them.

So here’s to 2018, to turning a page — and reading more and writing more pages in the process. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. I’ll blog again soon, but for now… I’ve got a book to finish.

5 Things I Learned In My First “Adult” Apartment

Welp. I move tomorrow. More accurately: I move into the apartment that I will share with my boyfriend tomorrow.

Can you say big step? Because I can.

In all reality, I am so excited for this move. Probably more excited than I’ve ever been about moving, except perhaps for my move to England. I can’t wait for this next step in our lives together. There are no nerves about that, whatsoever.

But there is, if I’m being totally honest, a hint of sadness about saying goodbye to this little blue apartment in the heart of Phoenix. I love the mid century modern feel of my small blue-trimmed complex, nestled at the apex of downtown and Arcadia, where there is a happy hour on every corner. I’m giving up my 4 minute morning commute (7, if I hit the light wrong). I’ll wish I still had the gray brick accent wall in the living room. I’ll miss my little back patio, even though the tree that hangs above it does shed too much.

I’m really glad that I got the chance to live alone. Granted, I didn’t always like it and I oftentimes missed having someone constantly around, but I think everybody should live on their own at least once in their lifetime. Personally, I’m especially grateful that I got to do so when I did, fresh out of college and right when I was figuring out how to navigate “adult” life. It was an important, and transformative, time for me. I learned so much about life, and I learned even more about myself.

So, in the spirit of saying goodbye to a place that taught me oh so much, I though I’d reflect back on what I learned about myself whilst I dwelled in this little, dishwasher-and-laundry-less apartment of mine:

1. How to be alone.
This is perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned yet in my adult life. You don’t really realize how un-alone you are through childhood and college. People are constantly there, whether it’s parents, siblings, roommates, or friends. Living alone was the first time that I had long stretches, even days, where I barely had any interaction with other people, not including the cat. And at first, when those stretches came along, it was weird. Unsettling, even. But eventually, I learned how to be totally alone, and — beyond that — how to totally enjoy being alone.

I love spending solo weekends baking. Granted, I try to pawn off the baked goods on pretty much anyone I think will eat them, but the actual art of baking is something I really, truly enjoy. And if I can blast a musical soundtrack in the background and sing along, loudly and unapologetically, in the process, it’s all the more fun.

I figured out how to unwind, by myself, after a long day at work. I’m a really big fan of hitting the gym for a de-stressing workout, then coming back and pouring myself a nice glass of wine while I get to work cooking my dinner, with a random sitcom I’ve seen 7 times playing mindlessly in the background.

I learned that I really enjoy cooking for myself, and others. I like the freedom of being able to throw together what you want, without being reliant on a menu or price. I also think it’s oddly therapeutic for me to spend my evenings by the stove.

Essentially, I learned that I really like to be in the kitchen.

2. How to keep clean.
Okay, Mom. You win. Cleaning the bathroom every weekend does have its perks — mainly that you don’t have to put in way too much elbow work when it gets grimy. Maintenance in cleaning, and tidying up, is totally key. I can’t say I still adhere to this rule, because, in the spirit of honesty, I also learned in the past year and a half that I absolutely hate cleaning my floors. (Particularly my fake-wood floors, and particularly because I had a cat that sheds everywhere. It’s just such a hassle.)

That said, I also learned how I like to organize things, whether it be my clothes or the pantry or what have you. It’s funny, because you don’t really consider how, when you live with others, your organizational habits tend to play off one another. Living alone let me have total control of where things were, and that was oddly freeing. I learned what worked for me, and what didn’t.

3. How to budget.
Put this up there with being alone as one of the top lessons I learned while living alone. There’s a unique kind of independence that comes with being solely responsible for everything from the rent to the internet bill to the Spotify monthly fee. There’s no more fallback on your parents, or your roommate, or whoever might be there to pick up the slack if you pull the “I’m in college” card and need a bit of help out. Sure, having a real adult budget is a bit of a reality check, but it’s an utterly important one, and I can proudly say that I have never been more financially stable, or independent, as I am in this moment.

4. My own likes and dislikes.
I’ll admit it: I’m impressionable. If someone I spend a lot of time with likes one thing, the chances are that I will begin to like that thing, too. Or, at least, I did. I think that’s also just a part of being young.

Living alone showed me what things I really do like, and really don’t like. As I mentioned above — I really like wine. I like the taste of it, the elegance of it, and the way it just slightly takes the edge off when you need it to. I like pasta, a lot. And I like finding ways to pair my food, pasta or not, with whatever wine I’m drinking. It’s fun, even if it comes off a bit pretentious for a twenty-three-year-old.

I also like the gym. I can’t justify the steep prices for group classes, and things like yoga and Pilates just don’t quite cut it for me. I like to have a well-rounded workout, and I like having it easily accessible.

I don’t like artsy movies. I dragged myself through them for a while, but I would so prefer a lighthearted comedy or even a silly kids show (as evidenced by the fact that we are currently watching Pokémon). I even like watching sports better than the “edgy” movies I once tried to convince myself I was a fan of.

I like to pray alone. Usually, I’ll get into a spot where I want to spill my guts, first to my diary and then to God, once I’ve had a chance to process exactly where His hand is in it. But I don’t necessarily like to share my deepest prayers with others, even though I do believe in the power of prayer. I’ve actually been challenging myself more in this lately as I’ve asked for prayer for some of the tougher things going on. I’m trying to step away from my concerns that such requests are selfish or attention-seeking and trust in God’s love and the power of His people. But I still like to pray alone, more than anything.

5. How to be myself.
This sounds silly, and I realize that. But I think learning how to be yourself is an essential lesson in life, and it’s one that, unfortunately, maybe people don’t learn until later. I see people my age falling into the rut of being what people “expect” them to be — whether its in their career, their personal lives, or even their own likes and dislikes. And I totally get it. Like I said, I’m impressionable. I, of all people, know how easy it can be. But in the past year and a half or so, I’ve learned that there is no way I’m going to give up something I love, or pretend to like something I can’t stand, just because I’m trying to impress someone or try to make them see me in a certain light. It’s not worth it.

I’m not going to spend years saying I love wine and then all of a sudden change my mind just because my boyfriend doesn’t really drink. Same goes for pasta, or prayer, or the color purple. I love all of those things wholeheartedly. I don’t want to become a walking contradiction, and I don’t think it’s necessary. The people who love me will love my affection for Pikachu just as much as they love that I only pay attention to sports when they get to the championship round. Anyone who doesn’t isn’t really worth it. And while I will be the first to admit this isn’t the easiest lesson to learn, it is certainly one of the most transformative. Once you start accepting yourself, you’ll find yourself immeasurably happier. Just trust me on that one.

So, yes. I’m certainly sad to say goodbye to this chapter in my life, and this cute little apartment. But I can walk away with a small sense of pride, I think, knowing that I did it. I lived alone, for a substantial amount of time, and I loved it, for the most part. I learned a lot, about life and about myself, and I think that’s all that you can ask of each chapter in your life. Now, I can only hope that the next one brings just as much growth as this one did.

I have a really good feeling that it will.