2015

2015 has been a year divided. In the first half, I graduated high school, turned 18, and worked my ass off all summer at a job I hated. In the second half, I moved away from a home I loved but thought I needed to escape from, settled for a college I didn’t love, and regretted both of those things.

I figured things out– about what I like and don’t like, about my ambitious for the future, about which friends I can rely on and which ones I can’t.

Not that everything that happened was bad, of course. Even though I don’t (approaching hate) like Philadelphia, I managed to pull together a 4.0 GPA (and even though my sister tries to pull down this achievement every chance she gets, I’m still proud of it). Graduating high school and the week leading up to the ceremony was one of the best weeks of my entire life. Over the summer I grew closer to some friends and apart from others, which was for the best. I read 30 books this year, surpassing my goal of 27.

In the second half of 2015 I’ve been largely more productive and motivated than I ever have been. While I’ve been home over Christmas I haven’t been writing because I thought I needed a break. From writing, from everything. I think, now, that I was wrong. Writing is what I love and being productive, working, makes me feel good.

A huge influence on 2015 has been Casey Neistat. Some of you may know him, some may not. He’s a Youtube vlogger and filmmaker who puts out an amazing new video everyday. He’s inspired me in so many different ways. Namely, to be brave. I’d like to share Thursday, December 30th’s video with you, because it’s relevant to how I’m currently feeling.

Casey and his wife and baby have been considering moving to LA from New York, a place they both love and have lived in most of their lives. They’re in LA for vacation, and in this video, Casey describes freaking out and realizing that he can’t leave New York yet.

I can relate. I’ve realized I don’t like Philadelphia, and have made the decision to transfer colleges. For a long time I was worried about making this public, telling my extended family, writing about it. And maybe it seems a bit strange to take advice from a total stranger, but isn’t that the beauty of Youtube? That we feel so close to creators? But Casey has made me realize that it’s okay to fall in love with a place and to want to live there for years and years. Philadelphia is not my home, New England is, and Boston is my city. I love it there, and I was a fool to ever leave.

This post is quite spontaneous. Until an hour ago, I was still planning on not writing until I got back to school. I just decided to write down everything that was running through my head as this year, this strange and wonderful year, comes to a close.

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Life’s A Hustle // First Semester Reflection

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By the time this is posted, my first semester of college will be over. My last final will be over, and I will have nothing to do until mid-January when the Spring semester begins. Over the course of these couple months I’ve tried to be as open and transparent as possible about my experience, but I thought I would make one final wrap up post.

College is not easy, freshman year especially. I think it’s important to be open about our college experience, because I’m still insecure when I talk to my relatives or acquaintances about my time here. Everyone says that college is the best time of your life but no one really talks about how difficult the early months or years can be. I thought I was pathetic for not constantly enjoying myself. I thought I was pathetic when I didn’t immediately fall in with a tight group of friends. I thought I was pathetic when all I could think about was going home.

Insecurity is an uncertain feeling for me.

Life is a hustle. In order to get far, to do something, you need to work at it. Hard. Find what you love and chase after it; don’t let anything else get in the way of your dreams. If there’s one thing I can definitely take away from my first semester, it’s that dreams mean something. They’re what inspire us, what we care about. My dad always says that goals are dreams with a plan. So take your dreams, turn them into goals, and start the hustle.

Everyone wants to hear about grades, because besides the “growing as a human” bit, grades are the most important part of college for many people. They are for me, too, so I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. School is my hustle, always has been. In fact, I can say that my education is the only thing I’m confident about here. I’ll be honest: I don’t like Philadelphia. The city rubs me the wrong way and I don’t feel like I belong here. Maybe it could, but that brings me to my final point:

Don’t settle. Don’t throw away your dreams (or goals!) because of boring logistics. If you have something you care about you need to take the risk, be it a financial one or distance or completely uncharted territory, and go. If you don’t, a part of you will always regret it, always wonder what your life could have been. There’s nothing more dangerous in life than regret.

On Keeping a Journal

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I have always been terrible at keeping a journal. In fact, I’ve always been terrible at any sort of thing that required consistency, with this blog being the one and only exception. Everyone always says that the key to being a good writer is to write everyday and to keep a journal in order to do so.

There have been various times in my life when I’ve been able to do it. Once was when I was a Sophomore in high school I had to keep one for a class– and it was graded so I had to keep doing it. Then I worked with my dad and our horse and carriage company, which mostly involved just sitting around in a town square. I spent a lot of time people-watching and liked to write things down that I saw. And that was just about it. All the journal writing I did.

I prefer to type. I have lovely handwriting but I can’t write fast enough to keep up with the thoughts in my brain. Thanks to that terrible fifth grade program Type to Learn, however, I can type very quickly without looking at the keyboard. That’s helpful when my brain is working a thousand miles per minute.

I wrote in a journal the other day. I had a small notebook hanging around that I wasn’t using. Just some initial thoughts on a book I finished (and will be posting a review on… eventually) but I liked not having to open my laptop and get connected. As you very well know I am the last person who will complain about technology, but I do sometimes feel like I’m too attached to the internet. I also didn’t feel the pressure to finish anything. Some random, disconnected thoughts.

So I’ve decided to just carry this notebook around with me without putting any pressure on myself to write in it. Maybe that’s been the problem in the past, that I’ve felt too much pressure to write in it consistently. Or write about my own life (which I do a lot now but used to hate).

Saturday, November 21st

Saturday, November 21st. Southern Maine. 11:11am


 

I woke up this morning in my bed, at 8:30, like every other day I’ve slept in my bed. 8:30, to silence, to light, to the gentle floating of dust illuminated by the morning light.

My sister’s cat has taken up residence in my closet.

It is 11:11 in the afternoon and it is very quiet. My dad, who gets up early every day, is napping. My cat, who reacted in no way to my returned presence, snoozes on a pile of blankets. The only noise in the occasional whining of the dog, who has an ear infection, and the hum of the water pump. The washing machine is on– I didn’t wash the sheets before I left.

Only by leaving and returning do I understand how quiet things are here. How dark the night is. How the air smells and feels a certain way, like the air is not just cold but clean as well.

When I first woke up I went to take pictures outside in my jacket and bare feet. The air nipped and dug into the flesh of my sole.

Today I am Thinking of 9/11

Today I am thinking of 9/11.

Today I am thinking of 2,996 lives lost in 2001, of 127 lives in Paris, of more in Lebanon, and more and more and more.

Today, one week from the tragic events of November 13, I am leaving Philadelphia and going back to Maine for a week.

I am thinking of the over one billion Muslim peoples in this world who will face a harder tomorrow because of what a sliver of radicals have done. I am thinkings of the thousands upon thousands of people killed in the Middle East because of war raged in justice’s name, people who were just trying to live their lives in a harsh place. I am thinking of the people who will have more war brought to their land.

I am thinking of the people of Syria, forced to leave their homes and perhaps their families only to be rebuffed from safety, though they share a common enemy.

I am thinking of when I was four years old in 2001, and how my sister, six, rode home on the school bus and everyone knew something was wrong. I’m thinking of how you cannot hide these things from children.

Today I am thinking about war and surveillance, of how we can never escape this cycle of violence and unrest. Arm the rebels, wage war with the rebels. Fund more rebels and here we are again. Who will it be this time, I wonder?

I am thinking about how to be tactful and polite when all I can be is angry. I am thinking about how I made a tasteless joke to a boy who was five during 9/11, who became angry when I dishonored people who he lost but he didn’t really know. I am thinking about how all I know is an America post-9/11, how I could not have helped but feel happy and relief when Osama bin Laden was killed.

I am thinking how we cannot hold onto revenge.

I am thinking, selfishly, stupidly, that I am glad not be by flying home this week.