On lowering your expectations.

NOTE: Gentlemen, never date a writer if you’d rather not end up as a character in a poem/short story/screenplay/script/novel or fodder for a cheekily-worded blog post.
You’ve been warned.

Is “cynical optimist” an oxymoron? So be it—that’s me. I’ve always had a tendency to look at life situations with a shrewd eye. I’m passionate, but calculated. Strong, yet sensitive. Pragmatic. Determined. And if it sounds like I’m filling out a dating profile … well, we’ll get to that later.

I’m a person you want in your corner when life gets tough or you don’t know which path to take, because I’ve struggled with carving my own path so many times over that friends often come to me when they need an “expert” opinion. As willing as I am to help people whenever asked (and sometimes when not), it definitely puts a bit of pressure on me. I’m no expert. I had no example to follow when I set out to become a journalist in 2010. I had to rough it and man, did I.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the relatively short time I’ve been building my career, it’s not just the fortune cookie sayings of “expect the unexpected” or “everything happens for a reason,” though those old stand-bys are certainly true in some cases. Nope, I would say that you have to prepare yourself for some cold, hard disappointment. And that’s the optimist in me talking. You have to, you guessed it:

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Continue reading “On lowering your expectations.”

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On putting yourself “out there.”

anigif_original-grid-image-24777-1438697918-4So apparently 29 is your “danger year?” There’s a good chance that my coworker is just making this up, since I found nothing in a quick Google search, but rumor has it you’re supposed to use 29 as your last chance to get all the crazy out of your system before you turn 30 and … what? Life stops? You have to stop #adulting and just be an adult?

I’m always up for a challenge, so I’ll embrace this nonsense, though I’m not too keen on the connotation that it’s all downhill after the big 3-0. I’m already avoiding any and all BuzzFeed/Bustle/blah blah listicles with titles like “30 Things That Start To Happen When You’re Almost 30” and 30 Words That Have A Different Meaning After You Turn 30.” Just stop.

I think a good way to celebrate my year of danger is to finally cross off #1 on my bucket list (sky-diving). So that’s a goal before 2018. I’m also flying to Europe in June, which doesn’t technically sound dangerous but I’m actually a little nervous about it.

And … it’s time to start dating.

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On going home again.

thomas-wolfeYou know the old saying. Well, you probably know some version of it anyway. The idiom’s origins date back to a 1940 Thomas Wolfe novel and the sentiment has been widely debated by literary snobs. And Bon Jovi. Clearly you can throw millennials into that mix as well. Who the hell are you to tell us we can’t go home?

I spent Labor Day weekend back in PA. I was starting to miss my dog so much that I felt an unpleasant twinge whenever I thought about him. So I drove 200 miles from Rockville, MD (population 64,000) back to Nazareth, PA (population 5,700) to do absolutely nothing but read Harry Potter by day and lie in my sister’s bed watching Stranger Things (my second round, her first) with her at night.

I purposely put off going home for a while. I wanted to wait at least a month, to settle into my new life, to avoid this all feeling temporary. It happened so quickly, I need it to feel real. Everyone at work who hears about the total whirlwind my life was in July—how I permanently moved down less than 24 hours before I started the job, how I uprooted my life and came from out of state to join the cause—asks me if I’m homesick. The answer is always no. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!)

And in going back and staying in my old room out of a tiny suitcase, going through the motions of yet another boring weekend home with no plans and nothing to do, I realized just how stagnant my life had become over the past three years. How very long overdue this life change has been. How the one emotion that struck me when I arrived back at my apartment (my apartment) Monday afternoon was relief that the worst is finally behind me.

This new chapter has been such a long time coming.
Continue reading “On going home again.”