Authentic Power: Being Authentic and Genuine

“The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently.”

An interesting perspective from Gary Zukav—someone I’d never heard of before I Googled “quotes about springtime.” According to Wikipedia, he is an American spiritual teacher, writer, and public speaker, and by “authentic power,” he means “consciously choosing intentions that create consequences for which the chooser is willing to assume responsibility.”

I ought to be more careful about that.

Springtime, as illustrated by the quote, is typically associated with freshness, rebirth, optimism. Wakefulness after a winter hibernation—figuratively, of course, unless you’re a bear, a bee, a groundhog, etc. Spring cleaning. Spring graduations—which, I’ve just learned, my own will take place next May and not this December like I thought. That’s okay—the greater disappointment for me was learning I’m on track to graduate magna cum laude rather than summa cum laude. I know, I know—I should be proud of myself regardless, right, because I’ve come so far, done so well, blah, blah. And I am. But if I’m being totally honest, the overachieving perfectionist in me was just a bit disappointed.

And that’s something else, too—perfectionism, and, in a vein similar to “authentic power,” just…authenticity. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I would rather be: perfect, or flawed. Let’s deepen that—perfect and fake and boring, or flawed and genuine and authentic. When you put it that way, is there even a question?

I think society kind of goes back and forth about it as well, with media portrayal of especially celebrities, after whom so many people like to model their lives. Who are you fascinated with lately? For me, it’s Kate Middleton, Amal Clooney, Taylor Swift. A sophisticated, polished princess, an admirable, worldly human rights international lawyer, and a pop superstar with the ability to poeticize the most complex emotions. But who else is there? More and more lately I see people like Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, and Anna Kendrick being celebrated by the media for not being perfect, but for being outspoken and unafraid to be laughed at and to laugh at themselves. Unafraid to be genuineAuthentic.

I’m not saying that I want to be like these people, or that you should. I’m saying that I want to be as authentic to myself as they seem to be—which in itself might be a bad example there because, they seem to be. But think about who you seem to be to others, and how you feel about that. Are you authentically you? Do you even want to be?

During this time of year, a season of awakening and rebirth and of creating authentic power, I want to be consciously creating and being the most authentic and genuine version of myself, and, of course, to make the mistakes and the intentions for which I’ll assume responsibility (whether I’m inherently willing to or not). What about you?

❤︎

INSPIRATION CITATIONS

  • Gary Zukav” @  Wikipedia
  • “I had to learn a long time ago to not let my feelings about not being perfect stand in the way of enjoying my life.” —Actress Anne Hathaway on not being a perfect momPeople.com
  • Latin honors” @ Wikipedia

2017: A Special Every Day

We are very quickly reaching the end of 2016, and while it’s a little hard to believe how quickly the year has flown by—but not too hard, because it often doesn’t feel that way until the end, but now here we are—I’m okay with it, because Christmas and New Year’s are my two favorite holidays. I particularly look forward to New Year’s because it’s my anniversary with my boyfriend, but even before it was, I always looked forward to it because the first day of a new year always felt like an opportunity, a fresh, brand-new start. It still does.

I know I already touched on what a year it has been, and some hopes and dreams for the new year, but I want to revisit that, and I hope you won’t mind. Maybe it will inspire you to reflect on your year, too, and to pen some hopes and dreams for 2017—and in turn, maybe you’ll even want to share some of those with me.

My year in review…

  • Two successful semesters at UH done, putting me that much closer to graduation
  • Took on a double major, a summer internship, and now a part-time job with the company I interned for
  • Traveled to Athens, Greece, Vienna, Austria, and Isla Mujeres, Cancún, Mexico, as well as Saudi Arabia for the second time
  • Finished one journal and started another
  • Adopted a beautiful red heeler mix with Dylan
  • Created this blog
  • Was accepted into UH’s undergrad Creative Writing program
  • Accepted an invitation to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s upcoming wedding
  • Two concerts with Dylan
  • Spent time with family and friends

I should really keep better track of the things that happen during the year…

And here’s a thought: there is one special day that happens…well, every day. Not Christmas, not your birthday…

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty special. So maybe we should treat it as a special day—every day. I will with mine—you do with yours, too.

Hopes, dreams, and resolutions for 2017

  • Treat every day as a special day, because every day is special
  • More tranquility and self-care because “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ~ Audre Lorde
  • Be more careful about my use of “Yes” and “No”—perhaps also less of “I can’t” and more of “I don’t”
  • More productivity, less stress, and more FUN
  • MORE WATER, and yoga
  • Continue to study French, as well as other things/topics I’m interested in, such as reading Kimberly Wilson’s books and Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours
  • Save more money, and more TIME because “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” ~ Jim Rohn
  • Journal and WRITE
  • Finish Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix if I don’t finish them before the end of 2016
  • Graduate

Now it’s your turn to reflect and dream, and to picture your own 2017. What do you want it to look like?

Preoccupied With Preoccupation

Today, I’m thinking about busyness. Is that not a word? Well, it should be.

This is probably a topic I’ve reflected on before, but today it’s exceptionally present in my mind while at my desk at work on a Monday afternoon, thinking about when to leave work.

One of the great things about my part-time job at Arte Público Press is that Marina, my boss, lets me set my own schedule. With the fall semester having ended, my working hours can be more regular and don’t have to be squeezed into the holes of a class schedule, so my hours have been more or less set as Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. Except I got here at 8:30 this a.m., so I may leave around 3:30 rather than 4:00. If I stay until 4:30, though, that would give me a full eight-hour workday, rather than just seven hours. And at four days a week, an eight-hour workday would come to 32 hours per week, rather than just 28. (That four-hour difference doesn’t seem like hardly anything to me when I lay it all out this way…)

It’s somewhat tempting to just stay for another hour. It’s just one more hour, my mind says. What’s just one more?

One more is a lot.

One more hour can mean the difference between getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic on my way home or not. The difference between getting home before dark or after. Last week it meant getting to the bank before closing or not, or getting to Dylan’s in time to take Penny for her evening walk or not. Today it could mean getting home in time to run up to the church and do a little work there or not.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like much here. But to me, it can feel like much.

Then, take into account that that one hour each day adds up to four hours each week. Let’s see what I could do with four hours…

  • Watch one or two French movies, and cross that off my list
  • Finish Naranjo the Muse and update progress on Goodreads
  • Finish the Christmas gift I’m hoping to finish in time to give this year (can’t say who it’s for, in case I don’t finish!)
  • Update my fanfic, or possibly write and post a Christmas-y one-shot
  • Make some headway on organizing and putting back on the shelves the 900+ books for the church
  • Fill out the paperwork I have to do for an upcoming visit to a new doctor (I’m not sick, no worries)
  • Sleep

Just to name a few, of course.

I may have previously mentioned that I live approximately an hour away from where I work and go to school. Less than an hour without traffic, more than an hour with heavy traffic, which I frequently catch nowadays. I know driving relaxes some people, or just has no effect on others. Not me. I get tired and bored driving, so spending ~eight hours each week—minimum—in commute really wears on me.

So, busyness. Notice that everything I’ve mentioned up to this point involves me being busy in some way, shape, or form. Even driving and sleeping constitute some form of preoccupation.

I think the culture I live in is very obsessed with being preoccupied. Preoccupied with preoccupation—see, a preoccupation in itself, and I’d better stop saying “preoccupied” and “preoccupation” now before I lose you. Americans glorify busyness. Working 40+ hours each week, having a family, keeping a pristine house, being able to answer emails while on a conference call while working out… *exhale* College degree, six-figure salary, the corner office with the view, and even better if you can do all of that before your 40th birthday…maybe even your 30th. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, this seems fairly unrealistic. Not impossible, not unheard of, but unrealistic.

I know I don’t want to be busy 24/7, but I find myself wondering if putting in 28 hours each week at work is enough when I’m allowed to work up to 40. Would it be better for me, for my bank account, and for my employer, if I put in more time?

No.

It would not.

Because my busyness directly affects me and then that affects what I can offer to those who need me. I think it’s safe to assume that Marina would rather me do my work well and correctly the first time around, than she would be able to just erase all the tasks on the white board above my desk. Quality of work put out over quantity, every time. And in order to be able to offer quality, I have to take care of myself, too, and sometimes that means just not being so busy.

So I left work at 3:36 today, and I made a couple of phone calls and an appointment, and I did some dishes, baked brownies for our holiday office lunch tomorrow, and am finishing this blog post while catching up on a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls. (The closer I get to finishing these original seasons, the closer I get to watching the revival. Yay!) Soon, I’d like to paint my nails and catch up on some reading. Still busy, but it also helps to be busy with things I want to do rather than just the things I need to do. When that fails, sometimes it’s better to just do nothing at all, even for only a moment.

Actually, since I’ve been thinking about it all day, I’m going to go put my legs up the wall, and do exactly that. XO

Tous les jours

Bonjour ! C’est vendredi, et je suis retourné au travail…

I wonder how much more proficient my French could become if I were to write my journal entries en français. Obviously it would probably be counterproductive to blog in French, though, because none of my readers would be able to read it. But it was just a thought.

So I will translate that first sentence for you: “Hello! It is Friday, and I’ve returned to work.” Which…I have, actually, and it’s really nice to be back. Maybe I can’t totally say that I’ve returned to work because when I did work here over the summer, it was an internship, and not an actual paid job position, which it is now, but the point is, I sit at the same desk—which I’ve started decorating to create my own space, and I need to go to Hobby Lobby this weekend for flowers and glitter—in the same Arte Público Press office, doing some of the same work, with most of the same people. My boss, Marina, told me that she would eventually like to have me start doing some new things, but for now, she says, “we’re so behind” and that the only thing keeping her from going crazy is knowing that I’m coming in to work to complete some of those projects. I’ll admit it, though: I really actually don’t mind the spreadsheets. The review mail-out I worked on yesterday is a little more of a hassle, but it’s also nice to just start back doing a few of the same tasks, because I know them. As she said when she introduced me to Jamie, our office coordinator who is a guy but the whole time we were emailing about the process of hiring me I thought he was a girl, “Thank God, I don’t have to train her!” …Yes. Thank God.

And while on that note, TGIFATFIFO! (Thank God It’s Friday And That Friday Is Finally Over!) Except, my weekend now must be spent with a fairly extensive To Do list, at the top of which is finish my study guide for Tuesday’s French test, and carry it around with me, and, truthfully, toward the bottom of which priority-wise is “make time to take care of me.” Maybe it’s lucky that I’ll end up procrastinating on most of the homework, because maybe sometime while I’m doing that, I’ll slip in a journal entry, or a manicure, or a bed day, and I will feel better for doing so. Special thank you goes out to Kimberly Wilson for the express permission via Twitter to have a bed day! Not to fan-girl too much, but I recently discovered her through Bella Grace Magazine—remember how much I love that publication?—and I’ve subscribed to her podcast, Tranquility du Jour, and I listen to it on my way to and from work and school, stuck in Houston traffic at least three and a half days each week. It’s amazing. She’s amazing. She also FOLLOWED me on Twitter, which made me really excited—!

—Okay, deep breath…there. I will be zen.

And now that I can check “update my blog” off my list with one of my favorite highlighters—Zebra Eco Zebrite Double-Ended, designed not to bleed even through Bible pages—I am going to brush my hair, light one of my three-wick candles from Bath & Body Works, and read, or journal, or write…or maybe work on my test review, but probably not that one.

That’s okay. 😉

50 Little Things That Make Me Happy

Because sometimes, it’s important to just focus on what makes you happy,
and in no particular order.

  1. A hot cup of coffee.
  2. A hot shower.
  3. Sunny blue skies, especially without clouds.
  4. Shapes and pictures in the clouds.
  5. Sassy music.
  6. The lush, grassy green field behind my church, because it wasn’t always lush and grassy green.
  7. Pretty things.
  8. Sparkly things.
  9. Books.
  10. Fresh notebooks.
  11. Office supply stores.
  12. Brand-new issues of Bella Grace magazine.
  13. Freshly laundered sheets.
  14. A clean, newly detailed car.
  15. Burning candles.
  16. Burning fireplaces.
  17. Perfect, untouched snow.
  18. Fresh flowers in a vase.
  19. The new wood floors in my house, and the feeling of how they transformed the familiar space.
  20. The feeling of my fingers flying across a laptop keyboard.
  21. New episodes of my favorite TV shows.
  22. Whenever Taylor Swift releases a new album.
  23. Summertime.
  24. Postcards.
  25. Letters.
  26. Driving through pretty neighborhoods.
  27. Silky soft sand.
  28. Manicures and pedicures.
  29. Carrying my own shopping bags (grocery bags excluded).
  30. The feeling I get from wearing high heels.
  31. Writing.
  32. Christmas lights.
  33. Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  34. Dessert.
  35. Breakfast for dinner.
  36. Character customization in my video games.
  37. Banana splits with extra hot fudge.
  38. Milk chocolate, melted in a bowl.
  39. Adorable baby animals.
  40. Yearbooks.
  41. Whimsicality.
  42. Disney and Pixar movies.
  43. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays.
  44. Lemon pastries.
  45. Peaceful and quiet alone time.
  46. Shopping.
  47. Pleasant surprises.
  48. Vintage, like typewriters and Polaroid cameras.
  49. Making and keeping new friends.
  50. Being able to carry on a conversation in French.
  51. The way Granny always (and is the only one to do so) sings “And many more…” at the end of “Happy Birthday.”

❤︎

What 50 (or more) little things make you happy?

Do You Believe In Magic?

“Do you believe in magic, in a young girl’s heart?”

— The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Do You Believe In Magic” (1965)

Yes, I do. I also believe in magic in an old man’s heart, and in the heart of a 20something who often wonders if there’s anyone out there who really cares about her blog. True, the subject matter of the song, if you really listen to the lyrics, refers to the magic that exists in music, and that’s not what I’m talking about here, but the reason I chose that lyric, that song, is because it’s featured during the credits of Disney’s Peter Pan 2: Return to Neverland, and always resonated with me because of that. The plot of the movie is that Wendy’s daughter Jane learns that faith, trust, and pixie dust are more than just elements of the stories her mother told her. Jane learns to believe in magic, and maybe that’s the point of the stories of Peter Pan: to teach children and to remind adults that magic is more than just an idea. If you believe, it’s real.

Unfortunately, the reason none of us received letters from Hogwarts when we turned 11 is that Hogwarts isn’t real, and neither is Harry Potter, nor the kind of magic that involves cauldrons and spellwork and wands. Most disappointing, I know; but I’ve recently come up for air after several weeks spent buried in the world of Harry Potter, and since it had been so many years since I’d read the books, rereading them was like experiencing all of it for the first time again. I laughed, and I cried, and I experienced suspense and exhilaration and frustration, because I lost myself in the magic that exists between the pages of those books. Not just the magic that involves spellwork and wands, but simply the magic that is contained within a very good story.

I think I create my own magic. I also think sometimes I have to go looking for it, and I think that oftentimes it exists where I wasn’t looking at all.

I have this beautiful, perfect memory of a moment when I was 12 or 13, and I was in Huntsville, at sleep-away camp with the rest of the junior high—a grand total of about sixty students. Forest Glen is an awesome place, especially in the fall, and it was November. It must have been a clear day, sunny, and I was outside by the lake with my group members for the fishing activity, on the wooden bridge that crosses from the mainland to a small island that is part of the camp. It was probably cold, so I would have been bundled up, and I sat on the edge of the bridge, with my legs dangling over the water and a fishing pole propped up against the wooden railing in front of me. I faced away from the open expanse of lake, toward the narrower stream of water between the shore and the island, with the island to my left and the shore on my right, and I probably spent a good chunk of that time just letting my mind wander off into space.

But then, in a moment, I suddenly came out of a reverie and registered exactly what was in front of me: tall trees, growing wild and changed by the arrival of fall into brilliant hues of russet, amber, red, gold, and emerald, and perfectly reflected in the tranquil mirror of the lake. I registered exactly what is usually so easily overlooked: Nature done up in her finest, quiet and graceful, patiently waiting for somebody to see. That day, I was lucky to be that somebody.

It doesn’t sound all that extraordinary, and honestly it’s not. Lots of people enjoy this same picture every year, and I don’t know if it’s something they take notice of or not. I don’t get to see it every year, and I haven’t seen it since that day in quite the same capacity. But for me, it was a perfect moment, and that made it magical.

Something else that has always, always carried a bit of magic for me? The blank, lined page of a crisp, clean, brand-new notebook. Frequently a Lisa Frank—remember those neon rainbow notebooks and folders that every girl had in elementary school?—or another one with a pretty cover. When I was a young girl, my favorite aisle in every store was the one with the school supplies on it—the notebooks and folders and pens and binders—and my favorite shopping trip was the one to the office stores when the school supply lists came out. Every year. See, I’m a writer, and those pens and blank notebooks carried endless possibility. A magical unknown.

Last year, my mother volunteered at the RT (Romantic Times) Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, and came home with an assortment of swag. A couple of items were little mason jars, glittered and painted so that they glow in the dark. I think she called them “fairy dust,” and while I know it’s not more than paint and glitter and maybe Elmer’s glue, there’s just something magical about seeing them glow from one of my bookshelves in the middle of the night, knowing that they’re jars of “fairy dust.” When the morning comes, and these jars no longer glow, maybe there’s something a little magical about the day ahead: a hot shower and body lotion, hot coffee with salt and maple syrup in my favorite mug, a candle burning and a journal entry, a date.

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Do you get it now? It’s in the little things. Do you believe yet?

I want to know: what kind of magic exists in your world?

The Reality of Perfection

“We are all pure perfection, desperately trying to be something we already are.”

— Anita Krizzan

I spend a lot of time chasing after perfection, at least in my mind, and let me tell you, it does little more than waste time and make me feel tired. I’d go so far as to say that it’s even stifled my ability to write freely and creatively, because I’ve become so obsessed with grammatical and mechanical perfection. Which probably isn’t a bad thing when I’m writing papers, but definitely gets in the way when I’m trying to write just about anything else. I’ve even developed this odd obsession with not using the letter g, because I don’t like the way the little curly tail looks with most serif fonts. I know what you’re thinking: “She’s crazy.” Maybe, but it speaks to a compulsive obsession with perfection, or at least the appearance of perfection.

Obsessed with appearances. Aren’t there enough people in this world who are obsessed with appearances? Celebrities? Insecure adolescents? Aging men and women? We all want to look younger, more beautiful, more put together, so that the world will envy us. We want to be those things, but because maybe we can’t, we settle for just looking that way. We settle for projecting an image to the world.

I’ve done this for years, I think. In junior high school, I adopted an attitude that I thought would make me fit in with the girls in my class, even adopting the kind of “cool stutter” that one of them had. Don’t ask me to explain that—it doesn’t make sense even to me, but for the fact that I remember being there. In high school, I left this group of friends in search of another, and I found a group that I fit in with well, without having to try. We had classes and interests in common, and they liked me for me, and I could be myself. Be more genuine. Until I was in my first real relationship, one that wasn’t always the healthiest, and this is when I perfected my image projection. I remember many nights when I would come home around 9:00 or 10:30, and my parents would be awake in the living room, watching TV, when I would walk in the door; I remember, often, whatever I had felt on the way home, however upset I was over a fight we had had, I would make it disappear as soon as I stepped in the door. An automatic shift in my attitude, in my temperament, that allowed me to project that there was no problem. It was easy, and even now I don’t regret doing that because, and this was my thought process at the time, it allowed me the freedom to make my own decisions about my relationship, the good and the bad, without input from everybody else. Even my closest friends never knew the extent, and while I love them and respect their opinion, I hid for a reason. Eventually, I arrived at my own conclusion, and that had to be best for me. My decision, my terms.

It doesn’t strike me as new, either, this projection of images. Haven’t people been doing it for centuries? One of my favorite places on earth is Newport, Rhode Island, and a favorite attraction there are the “summer cottages” of the nation’s wealthiest families of the Gilded Age. “Cottage” is more than an understatement for these estates. Now, I can’t speak to the past, because I wasn’t there, but if the term “Gilded Age” is any indication, this was an age of the projection of images of wealth and privilege. As for today, while a lot about the world has changed, I don’t think this one thing has. Perhaps it’s narrow-minded of me to use these as examples, but watch a TV show like Gossip Girl or read a book like Pretty Little Liars, and in those stories, there is all kinds of evidence of people appearing as different than they truly are. Even in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, I believe there is evidence of this…

So, I’d like to ask, whatever happened to being genuine, but I wonder if maybe authenticity was always rare? Or perhaps it’s always been fairly common, but there isn’t as much evidence of it, because it’s not what people pay as much attention to? So many people are so obsessed with their own ideals of perfection, that so often, one fails to realize that perfection exists in the imperfections that make each person unique and authentic, and real. Maybe perfection exists in the imperfect ramblings of blog posts like this one, because those are real thoughts, true and uncensored. Checked for spelling and grammar, maybe, but not hidden away.

Secrets are okay. Everyone is entitled to at least one. It’s when those secrets become so many, so complicated, such a tangled web, that the authenticity of the person is lost underneath.

“Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!”

— Sir Walter Scott

Pay attention to whether you’re deceiving yourself, too. Pay attention to the person that you’ve made yourself out to be, and to what perfection means to you. Does it mean composedly flawless? Or does it mean heartwarmingly real?

You work out your perfection, while I work out mine.

Let me know what you come up with.

Bella Journey

I want to promise that this is the last time I’ll ever do this… and my intent is that it will be. But the truth is, I just don’t know.

I can’t say that I’ve always entertained the idea of blogging, but for the past two or three years, it has often crossed my mind, and I have tried it. But the problem was always, what to write about? What would people care about, be interested in? And once I have a theme or topic in mind, how to present it? After all this time…maybe none of that ever mattered.

If I’m being honest—which I’m trying to be—this is attempt number…let’s estimate 12, at blogging. At writing for the public. At this moment, as I type the first entry into the Day One journaling app on my iPad while my plane to Houston from Frankfurt takes off, the idea was inspired by this new magazine I’ve just barely begun reading called Bella Grace. The tag line on the cover declares that “Life’s a Beautiful Journey” and, carefully reading to savor the first few pages, they yank me into that realization. Life is meant to be absolutely beautiful as an entire picture, and too frequently it is a lack of view of this entire picture that forces us to think that life couldn’t be any worse, and to treat it that way. I’m one of the guilty ones—too frequently pessimistic and narrow-minded. I’m here to change that.

Even though perhaps I should, to my friends and family who have seen it again and again, I won’t apologize for my many different attempts at blogs and my failure to stick with one, and for the eventual disappearance of every one of those before. Why am I not sorry? Because to me, those unlasting attempts were a way to help me figure myself out at the time, and for this moment. To learn about me. Who I want to be. What I want to say.

In this Spring 2016 issue of Bella Grace, one of the stories is called “Before I Die” by Rachel Paukett. Inspired by words stenciled on an outdoor wall, she asks herself two very specific questions:

“What do I want to do more than anything else before I die?”

“If you were free to be yourself, who would you be?”

To the first, I would have originally answered, “Write and publish a novel” which has been my biggest dream since childhood, and the only one I’ve really held onto over the years. But suddenly, my answer would be “Follow a dream” because it holds so much more possibility and promise, without disregarding my dream.

The second question, for me, brings up another that I have often asked myself lately: “Who do you want to be? What kind of person?” and I continue to explore that, as I have over the course of my entire life. I’ve been popular and friendly, and unpopular and unfriendly. I’ve been honest, and I’ve been a liar. I’ve been optimistic and adventurous, pessimistic and reclusive. I’ve been the realist, the idealist, and the cynic. I’ve been my friend, and I’ve also been my enemy. Basically, since childhood, I’ve tried on all different personalities, and played with all different attitudes, and every day I still have to ask my mirrored reflection, “Who are you, and who do you want to be?” …Right now, as usual, I don’t have a complete answer. But I’m only 22.

My friends seem to know who they are, and they all have graduated from college as of this Spring. At least one of them already has a job, and another is on her way there. Not me—and I’ve joked that I don’t know whether the fact that I’m still in college makes me feel like a slacker or an overachiever. (A: Double major : overachiever.) My boyfriend seems to know, best of all of them, who he is. I think I know who people want me to be. But what about me? My opinion matters, and right now, the jury is still out. Juries can take a while to deliberate—and trials are more akin to marathons than sprints. (Not that I’m athletic enough for either.) Life is a journey. The journey to know and to love yourself as you adventure to discover new surprises every day.

“Never let a day pass without looking for the good, feeling the good within you, praising, appreciating, blessing, and being grateful. Make it your life commitment, and you will stand in utter awe of what happens in your life.”

— Rhonda Byrne, Bella Grace issue 7, p. 19