Here's to 25

Today, I turn 25.

I've been mildly freaking out about it recently because, after all, 25 rounds up to 30 and 30 is just so OLD.

Then I realize that 5 years is somehow both an infinitesimal amount of time and an incredibly long amount of time. In the past 5 years I've bought a horse, adopted a dog, bounced between several majors of study before finally settling on "the one," used Flavor Flav in my senior project, graduated college, moved to an entire different big city than everyone else I knew, been a camp counselor, been an intern, found a job or two, traveled to a bunch of new places, met a couple thousand people, trained for a half marathon and went on a bunch of fun adventures.

Those 5 years flew by and made me completely different as a person.

So, projecting that growth forward, I guess I'm actually kind of excited about jumping into the next age bracket. The next 5 years will be awesome.

And in that vein, I'm going to attempt to once again resurrect my blog. Not for you, but for me. As a travelog of sorts. So in 5 years I can look back on it for reference.

Hope to see you around!


Lesson #107: The Law of Unintended Consequences

The first Halloween that I remember at all was when I was 5-ish years old, and only because it was particularly traumatic.

The details are a bit hazy- I was, after all, only a wee child. But I remember that I somehow ending up covered in egg- with gooey yolk dripping from my halo, and then was forced to hop into the bathtub fully clothed in my angel costume. I'm not sure if some particularly evil teenagers decided it was a good idea to throw eggs at a small child, or if I was just in the unfortunate way of a Halloween prank, but I do remember looking up at my best friend's mom and proclaiming, with the innocence of a small child:

"I think this is an egg tree."

This isn't a post about how scarred my childhood was because I was egged on Halloween at the age of 5 when I was trick or treating in south Nashville in my preciou angel costume. (It actually may have been a witch costume, now that I'm verifying details with my mom. I'm sure this difference in memory is symbolic of something. I'll let you decide what).

This is a post about the result of that Halloween.

Namely how- for a longer time than I'd like to admit- I believed that eggs grew on trees.

I know this will probably come as a big surprise, but I was a pretty stubborn and argumentative child. In fact, in the first grade, I was a vehement supporter of the Green Party. I also got into a fight on the playground over the existence of Santa Claus and once snuck back into my classroom during recess to draw a smiley face on the sun of the class mural. (The sun didn't have a face in the first place due to a difference of opinion between, well, the whole class and myself.)

So naturally, the other kids telling me that eggs DIDN'T grow on trees only led to solidify my belief. After all, I had first-hand experience on the receiving end of a mean egg-tree!

I know what you're thinking- LB, this is a cute story, but at almost-halfway-to-50 years old you probably know that eggs don't grow on trees so why don't you make your point already?

Here's my point. In the hundreds or thousands of the things we do each day,  any one of them could have a profound impact on someone else; and while it's impossible to know exactly which interactions will have the most impact on someone's life, it is possible to be mindful of the impact that any potential conversation could have.

This seems like an easy concept; but how often do we bark at someone out of frustration, or walk past someone on the street without even acknowledging their existence?

So stop for a minute in your busy life and breathe. Smile at someone. Ask them how they are and actually listen to the answer. Try to make your interactions with others have a positive net effect on the world, however small. You just never know when you're making a difference- positive or negative.

And for the record, it's probably a good idea to avoid throwing eggs at trees and small children.

Lesson #101: Stop Waiting on Your Hogwarts Letter

I have some very bad news. Very bad news, indeed.

Your Hogwarts letter isn't coming.

That's right. I'm about to make an analogy between Harry Potter and life. Because I'm THAT person. But, probably, a little piece of you needs to hear this. Lord knows we all do sometimes.

I have a friend who has recently been in the midst of a Quarter Life Crisis. The QLC is unique to each person, but it seems like a pretty normal result of the transition between academia and the "Real World" that we've been working towards for the past 18 or so years of our lives.

This is it?! I've been working my ass off for 18 years and this is what the result is? That just can't be right.

 Probably even more frustrating for our generation, is that there is no quick fix. You can't Google your quarter-life crisis away. I know this because I tried. The top result recommended me to a page called "What? I can't get drunk from soaking my feet in vodka??"

At least Google had a suggestion, I guess.

And so there is a tendency to sit. And wait. And stay miserable. Because surely something cool is on it's way. Surely, as a special snowflake, the lottery will go the right way one day. Maybe one day Hogwarts will come calling.

That's all wrong. Your Hogwarts letter isn't coming. But if you take a step back, meditate for a while and look at the world, you'll realize that you don't really need it after all. Magic already exists. We have the ability to transfer information immediately. To fly from one place to any other in the world in a matter of hours. To turn things into other things. To pick career paths that truly engage us. To start and put out fires. To create life. To profoundly affect the world around us. And it is, if you really stop and think about it, incredibly cool to be alive.

But in order to enjoy it, we have to stop waiting. Tomorrow is now today.

This is it.

And that depression and feeling of crisis just means you haven't found your oyster yet. Try something different. If that doesn't work, try something else.

It's a big, magical world. You'll find it eventually.

I promise.

Sometimes I'm overcome with how much I love DC, because of photos like this: