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birds don't sing

Long time no see! These are basically 8 different iterations of the same photo, but I was quite proud of my Easter outfit-- so much so that I just had to share it with the world, even if I'm doing it about a month too late. 

School is out now (thankfully), and I'm feeling even more reflective than usual. Truth be told, this school year has not been my best. Academically, I've flourished, but socially, not so much. I suppose college is a tumultuous time for everyone, but freshman year was particularly unkind to me. 

I've watched my friends from high school find new friends, and job opportunities, and romantic partners at their respective universities, whereas my life felt stagnant, quiet, monotonous, and unchanging. It was hard to hear about the new experiences my friends were having; the pangs of jealousy and the immediate, subsequent wave of guilt got to be too much to handle, and I regrettably fell out of touch with a lot of people. The predictability of my daily routine began to depress me. As a freelancer, I had little excuse to leave my house, so I often didn't. I went days without interacting with the outside world, shut away in my room, crouched over a computer. 

I tried to compensate for my bland personal life by working, and although I am proud of what I have accomplished this year (btw I have a new book out), most of the time, I felt stuck in a rut creatively, and it was hard for me to muster up the strength to create anything, knowing that it wouldn't live up to my impossibly high expectations. I also spent a lot of time sprawled out on my couch watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. I was consistently dissatisfied with the work I was able to produce.

Lately though, my mindset has changed and I feel more creatively motivated. Truly, it wasn't any sort of external factor that made this year difficult. It was me. Ultimately, cliche as it sounds, I'm only in competition with myself, and I need to internalize that sentiment. There's nothing wrong with taking things slow, and giving yourself time to produce work that you're actually proud of. It's so easy to get caught up in the rat race.

I still think it's important to move on from your past successes and not rest on your laurels too much, but only concerning yourself with producing more work and never taking a step back to look at what you've accomplished is unhealthy. You're not giving yourself an edge, you're being self destructive. It's sometimes hard to strike the balance between pushing yourself and overextending yourself, but I've learned to take a moment and breathe before moving on to the next project.

On June 1st I'll be heading to NYC to work as an academic RA at The School of The New York Times, a program I've talked about on here before. I applied for the job thinking I wouldn't get it. I thought I bombed the over-the-phone interview. Even my family told me it was a long shot, given my age and relative inexperience. Last year when I was in NYC, I swore to myself I would get a summer job there. I'm not sure I believe in manifesting your dreams, and I'm certainly not into the philosophy spouted in The Secret, but I don't view this as just a blessing, just some unbelievable stroke of luck. I'm incredibly grateful to have this opportunity (and to be privileged enough to be able to take it), and though I'm sure luck played a role, it's also something that I have worked for and that I have earned. I'm allowing myself to take some credit, for the first time.

That doesn't change the fact that I'm incredibly nervous to take off in about a week, to navigate the city by myself, and to be in charge of children for the first time. But reminding myself that I am capable, somewhat (maybe) talented, and deserving helps to ease those nerves. This was the year I learned to give myself a break.


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