Monday, January 25, 2016


I've spent a lot of time recently analyzing what really makes me happy and figuring out how to adjust the sails in my life to get where I really want to go. Whether this happiness lies in new relationships, new adventures, or new things, I feel like I've exhausted plenty of options and come up frustrated many, many times before things finally start to work out.

I'm the kind of person who makes life plans on a repeat basis. On any given day, I can be found perusing the catalog requirements for a degree in xx, a house in yy, a job in zz. I research, think, tell a few people, think some more, and then ultimately decide that stagnancy is much more comfortable than change.

Unfortunately, stagnancy doesn't lead to happiness.

It takes moments/days/months out of your comfort zone to feel really grateful, happy, and alive. It takes being vulnerable and unsure in order to realize the things, adventures, and relationships that really matter and deserve our time and effort.

Like that time almost four years ago when I decided with everything inside of me that I wanted, needed, had to live in New York City. No amount of dissuasion could convince me otherwise. No rejection or fear or setback could steer me off of the course of my ultimate goal.

So, I got here. I got the job. I found the apartment. I made the friends and had the adventures. Months and years passed, and I now find myself asking that question again: What am I meant to be doing? Is this it for me, and what's next?

This time, I don't think that the changes entail moving 2,000 miles and starting anew (sorry to all my West Coasters, I'm here for a little while longer). But, the fact that I've spent the past three days at work blogging about being brave means that maybe this is the part of my life that needs to change. Maybe I need to find a new outlet for my talents and apply myself in areas that really make me passionate. In fact, it was after writing the email to that sixth grade teacher of mine that I realized the direction I need to chart my course.

As a forum for accountability and a place to recollect during the process, I'm using this blog to let myself/the world know that there are going to be changes this year.

I'm re-calibrating, gathering supplies and wisdom, and stepping out into the wide unknown. I can't wait to experience the bravery and challenges that will lead me toward happiness.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.” 
-W.H. Sheldon

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sometimes I Email People I Haven't Seen in Twenty Years

As one of my first forays into the world of brave encounters, I wanted to find people who inspire me and write them a message letting them know, "Hey, I think you're great." The standard relative/friend/colleague list didn't make the cut, and I decided to go to people whom I had not seen or spoken to in a number of years to remind them that a) I exist (haha. but seriously.) and that b) I still consider them to be influential in my life.

This list included:

A high school English teacher.
A childhood best friend.
And a 6th grade teacher.

I searched social media, past school websites, and my first Hotmail account for ways that I could contact these individuals--putting my e-stalking talent to real use right there. And I started each email with a very formal salutation, since I'm basically as awkward as I was at 17 and can't imagine calling a teacher by their first name. #adulting

After crossing that "what would I say if I saw this person in the grocery store?" hurdle, the remainder of the message was surprisingly easy to compose. I'm lucky to have had extremely influential teachers, and--maybe indicative of my kiss-up status as a child--I found it both inspiring and cathartic to remember the amazing lessons, books, and experiences I had so many years ago.

Nostalgia is one of my favorite drugs.

With slight trepidation and a few seconds hovering over the "send" button, I felt that rush of bravery. Sending something into an unknowable void is quite terrifying,
and--like this blog here--I had no clue if these recipients would read, remember, roll their eyes, or have any range of emotions. That wasn't the point, though. I did this for the sake of being brave, and any positive or negative reactions were out of my control.

But I did get responses:
I am so glad you emailed. It is great to hear from you!
You will never know how much your letter means to me.

Those two lines alone make every ounce of bravery worth it. 

Go do it. Tell someone why you love them. Remind an individual from your past that you still feel their influence in your life. I hope it becomes as addictive and as amazing to you as it has been for me.

Valentines. Or anytimes. Let someone know you love them. (Card courtesy of my knack for literal interpretations and crafternoon yesterday at work.)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Want to See You Be Brave

I'm not one who typically lives by some sort of mantra. Aside from that whole "eat more cake" thing that I have ingrained into my very soul, I don't have a life motto or catch phrase that comes up to remind me how I want to live my life. However, as people of the internets and friends around me talk about New Years Resolutions and "30 before 30" lists and all that kind of stuff, I've felt a little left out due to my lack of such plans.

Instead of making a whole list of things that I want to accomplish before the year's out--and realizing that 365 days isn't nearly enough time to get done all that I add to some list, I've decided to do more things that fall under one broad word.

That word is brave.

I want to live this year unafraid of what is to come, accepting challenges, making changes, and forging relationships that are brave and strong and true. I want to leave my comfort zone of home and career, using bravery to form connections and uncover bits of myself that have been hidden by insecurity, doubt, and time.

"The ultimate definition of bravery is not being afraid of who you are." - Chogyam Trungpa

I hope to document some of my bravest moments on this blog, resurrecting a forum that has long been dormant and uncovering a piece of myself that makes itself known when I sit down and write out my thoughts. Thank you in advance for connecting with me in this space, and know that I cherish your words, your thoughts, and your own attempts to live bravely.

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says "I'll try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher