TV Detox: Day 1

I love television. I love binge watching a show, catching up on favorites, watching new movies, learning via documentaries. I love it. I like to say that I don’t watch that much TV–I boycott cable, but I’m lying.

Take this weekend for instance. In 36 hours, I completed How to Get Away with Murder. I have no regrets.

But, Elliott is out of town this week and I don’t have a ton of plans, so I wanted to challenge myself to go all week without watching television.

Day 1 Recap:

Made an actual dinner. I love to cook and try new recipes.

Read the back issues of food+travel magazines.

Took a 45 minute walk around the charming city of Zionsville. Tangent: it’s making me so sad that they days are getting shorters. Seriously. 8:00 came around and it was pitch black. I’m already dreaming of next summer and decks and porches and great evenings. Summer 2015 was a let down. It rained from May-August. I wish that were an exaggeration.

Went to Target to pick out a wedding card. It took me 20 minutes, and I emerged covered in glitter. I have a few thoughts on the wedding card business. First, if the description says “money holder” do I really need to know where to place the money? Isn’t that one of those obvious things? Second, why is every wedding card spouting off mushy marital advice. I get it, a lot of married people go to weddings, but you know what–so do a lot of single or unmarried people. Don’t make us buy the funny cards about the open bar. Why can’t there be a card that says “I have no business giving you marriage advice, but you’re cool and I’m happy for you”? Also, enough with the glitter. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. And finally, why don’t wedding cards come in packs of 10. It’s a well known fact that vacation days in your 20s are dedicated to weddings–and at a minimum of $3.50 a piece, cards can become a hefty investment when you think about it. If I can buy a pack of 10 thank you cards for $2.99 with envelopes, the same should hold true with wedding cards.

Whew.

August Recap

Whew! What a month.

A quick retrospective: since I graduated from Butler, I’ve been relatively unhappy with my life trajectory. I’ve been sad that my friends have moved. I’ve been sad that I stayed behind (even though I’m madly in love with Indianapolis+Indiana). I’ve been mad that I haven’t traveled, cooked more, tried new things. I graduated and I felt like my grand adventures were over.

So, I attempted to change my perspective and have spent some time thinking about what I am actually doing. Cheesy and lame, but I find that all things are best tackled with a list.

So. August.

I traveled to Memphis for a friend’s wedding. It was my first time being in Memphis. The firs11825680_10206094721319121_2584257593953423562_nt long drive I’ve taken (7 hours–with my mom calling every half hour) solo. I was able to reunite with some of my best friends from college. Note to self: 3 boys and 1 girl in an apartment is a recipe for weird things to happen.

We went to Graceland, got great BBQ, saw the Peabody ducks, and decided that humidity in the south is no laughing matter. My grandma loved Graceland, so I just felt very connected and happy.

I started pure barre classes. For the record: I have never been athletic, and I hate working out. But, I love these classes. I’m terrible at them; my body shakes like it’s going out of style. I basically go through the class like going to the doctor’s office- “it’ll only hurt for a second.” Basically, I can get through the class because it’s just an hour and I do better when an instructor is telling me what to do. So far, I’m 5 classes in and have even been going to the 5:45 AM sessions. No photographic proof, but I swear, it’s true.

I got back in touch with old friends who have moved back to Indy. It’s amazing me to me how people float in and out of our lives. My college friends have moved away and stayed in town. I love that I have people I can meet up with and pick up like no time has passed at all.

I got engaged! Sometime in 2016, I will be the newest Mrs. Johnson. What a whirlwind of a weekend that was. We got engaged at Butler, which is so special to me. Elliott and I met at Butler 4 years ago. I’m so lucky to be marrying a11922962_10206198242587088_4957462359477413839_o man that understands me and is patient. He’s calm and can always find the bright side. Which is a stark difference to my type-A personality and general half empty perspective. I’ve never felt so loved, by him, but also by all of my friends and family who were either in on the secret or who have been outpouring in their congratulations.

Hopefully, September can keep up with August.

New Recipes

My latest cause/passion/thing I want to know everything about: food.

I was exposed to Supersize Me and Food Inc. at a young age and was subsequently traumatized. But recently, my interest in the food industry has sparked again. You all know my spring time interests included recycling and urban farming. I’ve been using my little patio garden all summer long, but I wanted to learn about more ways to live a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve recently watched Fed Up and Bite Size. I’m currently in the post-documentary stage where I want to eat nothing but leaves (but haven’t actually thrown out any chocolate). It’s astonishing how much horrible things are in our food today. Those movies paired with a few weekends out of town have had me with the strong desire to do some serious meal prepping and try out new recipes. I know that if I don’t make my lunches and at least plan out my dinners I’ll eat nothing but chips/popcorn/ice cream.

Now, I don’t calorie count and I don’t really know what exactly makes certain vegetables healthy. I live by the general principle of if I know the ingredients in the food, it’s healthy because natural over processed wins every time.

Curious as to what I’ve been making?

cauliflower chinese stir fry tuna salad

stuffed pepperschili lime chicken

1. kung pao cauliflower: pretty yummy, but don’t ever try to convince me that cauliflower is a true substitute for chicken because nothing is similar, not taste nor texture.

2. tuna fish salad: I know, you hate me for saying this has been my lunch because it smells strongly. But it’s a grown up version, using herbs and peppers for kick and avocado in lieu of mayonnaise.

3. quinoa stuffed peppers: I’ve been on a spicy kick and the salsa in this recipe definitely does the trick. I’ve also been trying to find ways to eat less meat, that doesn’t leave me starving.

4. chili lime chicken: I don’t have a grill, but a panini press works just as well. It’s sweet and spicy, a perfect summer combination.

Desire the recipes? Click on the pictures to learn more!

My favorite things, for now.

I’ve never been a product person. Often, I pick makeup and haircare and skincare items because they’re what my mom used or they were the least expensive option. However, I’ve decided to put a little more thought into what I buy for myself.

So, a few of my current favorites:

not your mother's smooth moves burts bees tinted lip balm

thayer's rose water witch hazelorganic coconut oil

Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves: frizz control hair cream

My hair dries a delightful mix of wavy, straight, and always frizzy. I emerge from drying my hair as a puffball. A few weeks ago, I bought (treat yo self!) and fell in love with their beach babe shampoo, and decided to give this frizz control a try. Usually, I see no difference when I use product vs not using product. Except with this one. My hair dries soft, mostly straight (I don’t use a brush when drying) and frizz free.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus 

More items on the list of “things I don’t do”: lipstick, lip liner, heavy glosses. I’m a chapstick girl. It’s nice that this lip balm also has a tint to it, to give me some easy stress free color. It also doesn’t go on super dark and I’m not worried about applying it too often.

Coconut Oil

My skin and I have a love/hate/mostly hate relationship. It’s combination, unpredictable, and reacts dramatically when I change products. I have bouts of cystic acne which I lovingly refer to as “the beasts” (is this TMI? probably.) I’m 23 and feel like most of my skin hate should be stuck back in the AP calculus/prom/drivers ed era. So, I’m always looking for a product that will show me some results. Recently, I started exploring products with less ingredients and/or ingredients I can pronounce. All I wanted was something that would help nourish my skin without it becoming oily and calm down my breakouts.

I read a lot on coconut oil being this super god of a product for your skin, hair, and cooking. It’s naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, super moisturizing, and can even help fade scars. I’ve been using it to remove my makeup as well as a night time moisturizer for over 2 months now and my skin has had a noticeable change. It also is fantastic at taking off waterproof mascara–better than any makeup remover I’ve ever bought. Let the eyelashes I haven’t lost removing my makeup be the testament. Also, at $6 a bottle with a ton of uses, it’s a steal. Call me a hippie if you want, but this is the real deal.

Read more about the various uses here

Thayer’s Rose Water Witch Hazel 

Again, on my journey to find less harsh products for my face–I found rosewater witch hazel. Witch hazel is a natural astringent, meaning it will clean and tighten pores, reduce puffiness, and reduce redness like any drugstore product would. But, it’s made from a plant. Rosewater also has similar benefits. It helps balance skin and clean pores.

It’s been a perfect solution for my skin. It really does a great job of calming my skin overnight. It visibly helps my breakouts and leaves my skin feeling extra clean and soft. Again, it’s a super steal at about $3 a bottle. I’ve had mine for 2 months, and I’ve only used half.

Learn more here.

So, what are your favorite products?

It’s Been a Year.

It’s been exactly one year since I graduated college.

I’ve struggled this year with comparing my accomplishments to other twenty-somethings. We’ll blame social media for being able to keep track of who’s bought a house, gone to Europe, gotten a promotion, learned how to build a rocket ship.

So, I’ve taken some time to think about what I’ve accomplished in the last 365 days.

Without further ado, in the last year I’ve:

  • traveled to New York, twice: Buffalo and NYC
  • refinished furniture. I consider myself able to wallpaper, spray paint, and maybe use an industrial sized staple gun
  • started a new job (twice)
  • got a library card–and started vigorously reading again
  • learned to diagnose, test, and replace spark plugs for a misfiring engine cylinder
  • hit my first pothole that popped a tire. subsequently learned how much potholes suck when they result in replacing 4 tires, straightening 3 wheels, and getting an alignment.
  • argued with AT&T about my internet price. twice.
  • tried a bunch of new recipes
  • discovered some new places in Indianapolis
  • paid off my car loan
  • started a garden
  • started to recycle
  • began a personal blog
  • chopped my hair and learned how to curl it with a straightener
  • went to a bunch of concerts in Indianapolis
  • wrote more letters
  • renewed my lease, which means for the first time since 2009, I will have the same address for two whole years.

So, candidly looking at this list, it’s kind of a yawn. It looks like I had a ton of expensive car issues which made me cheap out on things like actually buying books. On the other hand, if we’re evaluating with a glass half full approach–I did a ton this year. I adulted super hard and learned about keeping myself, my home, and my car in one piece. I spent a lot of time reintroducing myself to my hobbies–reading, gardening, watching movies, writing, trying new restaurants. I taught myself new things like how to stain furniture. Also, importantly, I figured out what I want to do in year 2-post grad. stay tuned.

An Ode to the Family Minivan

I don’t hate minivans.

Some people look at minivans and think: never will I ever. I look at them and think of the best childhood. The Sell family became the proud owners of a Chrysler Town and Country in 1999 (we were partying like it was…you know) after a failed attempt to be a sedan family.

My mom went to buy the minivan and the first salesperson she dealt with called her “little miss” and told her to just come back with her husband (because we all know of all women’s weaknesses, buying things is top of the list…). So my mom left, went to another dealership, bought the van, and showed it off to the first salesperson who was suddenly feeling the pains of lost commission. I like to think she told him to take his “little miss” attitude and stick it where the sun don’t shine, but then I remember Arline is way to classy for that kind of behavior.

Anyways, the minivan served the Sell household for a decade. We were living in Texas at the time so vacations were 4 days of driving, with 2 specifically dedicated to getting in and out of the state of Texas. We weren’t a family that made stops, unless it was lunch time which basically meant 4-6 hours of straight through driving. We were ruthless travelers and were quick to identify the weakest link. I was generally the reason we had to stop for unplanned bathroom break so my beverages were rationed, and I was allowed minimal access to the drink cooler. I learned to make a single capri sun last hours.

The backseat had the seats taken out, and in their place were sleeping bags, pillows, and a VCR/TV combo. It was a big deal when DVDs became popular, and we upgraded to a portable DVD player. Em and I would roll around in the back watching movies and playing on our Gameboys until we got to populated areas/cities—then we had to get into a seat and buckle up. Oh, and we also had to be quiet because city driving stressed my dad out (at least that’s what my mom would have us believe). People talk about driving without seatbelts way back in the day, but for me that was still prevalent in the late 90s. Also, I’m realizing how outdated the word “VCR” probably is.

There was one time when Em’s shoe fell out of the car in Oklahoma and we didn’t notice until we got to our hotel in Colorado. Nothing says family bonding time like frantically walking around a mall as it closes trying to find shoes for your six year old.On that same trip, we discovered we had bought the Spanish version of Space Jam (#TexasProblems)

This was before minivans came with acrobatic seats and automatic doors and their own vacuum cleaners. I never got mad about my inability to roll down the windows. I never felt uncool being in the minivan. I just thought it was so awesome that there was so much room for stuff! Going on vacation was the best, partially because of the drives. We had specific travel snacks and magazines and games. We were never limited in how much food we could bring or how many souvenirs we could bring back.

I think of the minivan like the magic carpet in Aladdin. Remember when Aladdin walked into the treasure trove and saw the carpet and was like “gross, carpet…I want all the gold”? And then the carpet became the best thing ever: kept him safe when he started touching all the treasure and was an integral part in the song number “A Whole New World.” That’s the minivan: not the shiniest thing on the lot, but the one with the most potential for adventures.

Go Green-ish

Let me preface this post by saying: I’ve only recently discovered Styrofoam was recyclable. I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on all things eco friendly.

recycling II’ve never been aware of how much trash I amass. Judging on how often Elliott takes out my garbage, me, myself, and I generate a lot. Did you know, the average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash….daily? Did you know that of that 4.5 pounds of trash, 75% is recyclable? BUT, Americans have a recyclable rate of only 35%?

I heard these facts and my mind was just blown. Holy cow–4.5 pounds a day–no wonder I’m always taking the trash out!

For the last 2 weeks I have been mildly obsessed with urban farming, composting, recycling, etc. I found a great series on PBS called Food Forward (Click on the Link to learn more, or maybe watch an episode!). Episodes are 30 minutes and dive into different topics. I’ve learned how NYC restaurants are using the roofs of buildings and modern technology to be urban farmers. I’ve learned about an extremely cool compost project in San Francisco.  All of these people are doing truly innovative things to help the Earth and make our food lives closer to organic and sustainable.

During one of the episodes, someone asked: do you know where your food comes from? No, I don’t. It seems slightly absurd–I wouldn’t hop into a car with a stranger, but I’m ingesting food from who knows where. So then come my excuses: I live in an apartment, so growing my own food is out of the question and Kroger’s–it’s right across the street, so easy. Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.

I’ve heard it before, and you have too: Americans are wasteful. We have big houses and big rooms and run the water while we brush our teeth (guilty). But, as mentioned above, most of what we throw away could have a future use.

Follow me on this one. Food waste gets tossed into a landfill. Landfills=bad. For one, they take up precious land, and for another, all that garbage accumulates and decomposes. When it decomposes, it releases methane gases. Methane gases tear up the ozone, perpetuating climate shifts, which melts the ice caps, and leaves the polar bears homeless and constantly swimming.

Now, I’m not naive to think that overnight one silly blog post will cause a massive culture shift and tomorrow I’ll wake up to a lack of plastic bags, green cars, and landfills being closed forever. However, all of these facts and figures have inspired me to be a little more conscientious. I’m hoping it’ll inspire you to do the same.

First, I’m a big user of reusable bags for groceries. It’s partially because I’m living alone and what on Earth do I need 500 plastic bags for? Also, reusable bags hold a ton more and are easier to carry. I live on the third floor and have a firm “never take more than 1 trip with groceries” rule. I’m recycling more, which is great because I HATE taking the trash out. I’ve decided that my flower boxes won’t be holding petunias this summer. Instead, I’ll be planting some vegetables to grow on my deck. I’ll also be using old glass jars for herbs. Oh, and I’m trying my hand at composting. Fun fact: coffee grounds are an excellent fertilizer. Word of caution: composting is not for the impatient. It takes a long time for dirt to become dirt. Every day, I go out and expect to see dirt via spontaneous combustion.

We’ll see how long this fad of mine lasts, but I’m hoping I can stick with it. After all, I don’t want polar bears to be homeless. Tell me, what steps will you take to be a little more Earth friendly? (Questions not rhetorical–I like comments!)polar bear.

What do you read?

Hi friends and happy Monday,

I want to know: what do you read.

Through college, my reading was textbooks. I didn’t take a lot of time to find ways to learn beyond the classroom. Since graduating, I’ve cultivated a small list of places where I like to read. There’s also distinct articles that I gravitate towards.

I used to get really nervous when I was asked what I was interested in. I’d say I like to read, and then the knee jerk response was “what do you like to read.” Cue awkward, nervous, vague answers.

But guess what. Since I started following some reading sources, I answer that question confidently. Based on the articles I’m reading, I can figure out where my interests reside. And based on my interests, I pick new things to read. It’s a fun and fascinating catch-22. I also have a lot more opinions and thoughts.

I firmly believe if you want to become a better problem solver, you need to read more. I’ve often been told that the most successful people are the people that continue to learn and read.

Not sure where to start? Ask. I’ve started to ask my mentors what they’re reading or what they would recommend. My amazon wishlist is now alarmingly long. To compensate, I got a library card. Yep, those institutions are still in place.

So, where do I read?

Fast Company: I had a marketing professor in college who assigned Fast Company articles and would give a 5 point quiz at the beginning of each class. She suggested we follow them on Twitter. I was hooked. Fast Co offers articles surrounding innovation, entrepreneurship, design, marketing, self improvement, etc.

99U: That same marketing professor directed me to 99U. I’m only a few days into this adventure, and love it. 99U focuses on “making ideas happen.” Again, a great resource to help you think outside the box.

Flipboard: I found flipboard on my phone. I wanted an app to give me interesting things to read for those moments when I arrive WAY too early somewhere or the Starbucks line is 20 people deep. I put in my interests, topics such as technology, travel, food, upcycling. I can “flip” through articles that match my interests. Every night, I get an email with 10 suggested articles.

Refinery29: It combines all my favorite guilty pleasures: celebrity gossip, recipes, fashion trends. However, there’s also some smart reporting that happens. I particularly like the anti-diet project.

So, again I ask: what do you read?

Best of

Everyone’s a critic! Share your yearly “Best Of” list – it could be movies or music, moments in time…anything you can rank!

I’ve lived in Indianapolis for five years, but it’s only been recently that I’ve made a bigger effort to pop the Butler Bubble and explore the city more. Yes, part of the bubble popping  was inevitable when I graduated.

One of my biggest hobbies/passions/interests is food. It’s only fitting that my Best of list is primarily food based in Indianapolis.

Disclaimer: number does not indicate preference, but rather, what I thought of first.

  1. the original Yats. This is an important distinction. I went to Yats by IUPUI, and it was just all wrong. For one, I paid with a credit card. If you want the real experience, go to Yats on college–the only place that let’s you pay with IOU on a napkin.
  2. third floor of the IMA. The third floor is where the large installation pieces rest. I like it because you get to be part of the art. It also has some really great views. Go now, before admission is no longer free!
  3. Midland Arts & Antiques. I’m big into furniture restoration (ie: I try it, but I’m not a pro). I love repurposing things. If you have an afternoon to kill, go to Midland. It’s a HUGE warehouse full of stuff.
  4. Flat 12: Pogue’s Run Porter. In my humble opinion, one of the better stouts in Indianapolis.
  5. Hinkle Fieldhouse. I’m a butler alum, so this is super biased, but I love college basketball, and Hinkle really is a super magical place to be. Another perk–it’s small-ish which means there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
  6. A day on Mass Ave. Start at one end and work your way up. Get a truffle at best chocolate in town, go into Homespun and Silver in the City for some cool clothes and housewares, but end your day at Bakersfield. Get a margarita in a mason jar and sit on their back patio under the twinkle lights.
  7. The Aristocrat in Broad Ripple for a divine (and HUGE) pork tenderloin. If you order one and you think “there’s no way I can finish this”…you can. I have personally demolished that pork tenderloin.
  8. If you’re on the west side of Indy, go to Mann’s Grille or Mug n’ Bun. Go with the thought of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” They’re dive eateries but so so worth it.

Dear ____

Write an open letter to someone. Anyone. …even yourself!

Dear younger Lynsey,

I’m here to give you some sage words of wisdom and a little taste of what the future holds. After all, I know you’re squirming in government wondering what will happen in a day, a week, a month, a year. Unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t go away. Even in 2015 you’re an over-thinker.

First, in the future you will look the same as you do now.DSCN1257 Don’t believe me? Check out these 734627_10152651186420249_655747674_npictures. These were taken four years apart. People will consistently be mesmerized that you’re allowed to drive, vote, or stay home alone because you look like you’re 14. You will get carded everywhere. They will doubt your license. I’ve been told that one day, this will be a good thing that we’ll like.

Second, hold onto your skinny jeans because it’s the trend that lasted more than a year. But forget about polos, ripped jeans, and glitter. Thankfully, those fashion items stay in the 00’s.

You’re probably counting the days until high school graduation. You’re intensely curious about the mysteries that college will hold and bring to you. You’re hoping it’ll bring you life long friends and interesting experiences. Well, let me tell you, college was infinitely better than high school. I’m proud to say you only wore a lanyard for the first 3 days of school which puts you in the 95th percentile of college freshmen.

Now onto serious business.

Younger Lynsey, you really need to focus on loving yourself. You develop such an amazing foundation of support with great friends and family, but they can only do so much. You really need to listen to them when they tell you you’re awesome and even more, you need to believe it. It will take so much pain and hurt away from you if you can just do this one thing. Now, I know I’m talking to a brick wall here because in the future, I still don’t do this. I have more moments of self-doubt and vulnerability than I care to admit (as I write it for the world to see on the internet).

Not everything is rose colored and goes according to plan. A lot of things go completely sideways from where you thought they would go. I’m here to tell you, shout at you, command you to believe me that IT’S OK. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. EVEN IF SAID REASON ISN’T CLEAR AT THE TIME.

In conclusion, I know I’m full of sappy clichés, so you’ll be happy to know we don’t turn into greeting card writers.

Much love, Older Lynsey

Let’s Get Physical

Time to go through your (actual) desktop, junk drawer, or coat pockets and share an artifact from your past. A half-torn ticket stub, once-washed receipt, coffee-stained map, anything in a frame: it’s all fair game. What springs to mind from your artifact? The smells, sights, and sounds? A specific feeling? Hold it in your hand, close your eyes, and go back in time to a moment.

The ears. They’re iconic and indicative of theme parks, princess castles, fireworks, and Florida h0303150827aumidity. For me, they represent the best childhood vacations that seamlessly changed into the best adult vacations.

I have been to Disney World (always World, never Land) 5 times, and I consider myself somewhat of an expert on all things Mickey. This buzzfeed article shows 29 things you’ll never see at Disney again–and I can tell you, I remember most of that list. I still own my yellow poncho.

My mom is the real reason we’re a Disney World family. Her dad was a farmer, so vacations were during the winter. They went down to Florida, and it was in the 1970s that she started her Disney memories.

Flash forward to the 90s, and I can remember, we always went to Disney the week before Christmas (least crowded time). We stayed at the Contemporary Hotel because the monorail going through was the coolest, and according to my mother there was no where else worth staying on park property. We never rented a car because we took the shuttle from Orlando to Magic Kingdom. We were first into the park and last out. I can sing the entire song and  say most of the lines from the Carousel of Progress. We were and are the ultimate Disney family. 0303150841To this day, I can completely identify with the 90s Disney commercials.

For my 22nd birthday, my boyfriend and I went to Disney. I was determined to recreate my fondest memories. We crammed the Disney experience into 3 days. It rained the 1800365_10152177133269004_104908392_nwhole time, and I longed for my vintage yellow poncho. I had an AH-mazing time. Elliott patiently let me dictate the whole trip: which rides to use fast passes for, what parades to go to, getting to the park at the crack of dawn. The only blackspot on the trip was being forced to ride Space Mountain after avoiding it on all prior trips–no surprises, I hated it as my mother said I would.

The marketing geek in me also came out, as I came to appreciate and rave about the Disney experience. From the time you leave the airport, Disney starts taking care of you. They pick up your luggage and deliver it to your hotel room. They shuttle you to and from the airport. You don’t need to carry tickets or a wallet with their new wristbands. There is entertainment for both adults and children. I appreciated it even more on this last trip when my shallow pockets dictated staying off park property and taking a cab everywhere. I also realized that they got me. I went to Disney when it was my parent’s choice, and when it came my turn to pick where to go on vacation, there I was in humid Buena Vista, FL.

The ears represent all the best parts of my childhood because Disney really is the happiest place on Earth.

A Single Word

What one word sums up the past year? Now: unpack, unfold, and uncover it. What does it represent? What events float to the top when you think about your word? And, okay, if you can’t limit yourself to a single word…use a (select) few.

Fortitude (n): mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.

The first time I actually remember hearing the word fortitude was while watching One Tree Hill. In season nine, main character Nathan Scott had been kidnapped. While awaiting his fate as a hostage in the harsh metropolis that is Tree Hill, North Carolina, Nathan has the following line:

“there was a moment when I was lost, when they had beaten me. And I decided to beg them to let me live to see my beautiful wife,my son, and my daughter. To breathe another breath and lie in the sun and just live. But begging them wouldn’t change things. It would only give them satisfaction and that I wouldn’t do…So I made a decision to give them nothing. And in that moment one word came to mind…FORTITUDE.”

Now, in 2014 I didn’t have any major personal catastrophes. So to say that my adjective for 2014 is fortitude might seem over-dramatic.

However, 2014 was a year of change.

  1. I graduated college. For the first time in my life, the next step wasn’t school. You do well in high school to go to a good college. You do well in college to go to a good…life? There’s not a clear cut answer on “how to succeed at life.” That thought both excites and paralyzes me. If I’m being honest, it is probably more paralyzing than exhilarating. I am a planner. Getting comfortable with the idea of not having a plan has been a battle for me.
  2. Many of my friends moved away. We’re scattered among the Midwest, which doesn’t call for too much travel. But you know how it goes making plans to see people out of state–life happens and it just becomes a “next month for sure” to a “this month has been so busy, but next quarter for sure” to finally a “I want to visit you, I will visit you…soon”
  3. I’m finding that spending time with friends is a heck of  lot easier when you live in the same sorority  or on the same campus as opposed to driving across town when you have a pathetically early bed time. So, I go back to my standby of making plans. I strive to see someone and get out of my apartment at least twice a week. Some weeks are better than others, but it’s the thought that counts?
  4. As aforementioned, I had a choice to find and develop hobbies. It probably sounds lame to have to find hobbies, but for the past 17 years my hobby was school. I was good at it; I enjoyed it. I’ve worked hard at reading for fun more often and baking and crafting and watching movies I actually want to see and going to new restaurants in Indy (my hobby is food).

So, why fortitude? Because my list of four “major” changes happened to every other 20 something that graduated, so what makes me so special?

2014 had me sail into uncharted waters. Many nights, I just want to curl up on the couch and not do anything because being an adult is completely overwhelming. Not having all the answers is exhausting. It’s taken (sadly) a lot of personal effort to be a good, functioning, real person who tries to cook dinner a few nights a week and doesn’t snooze the alarm for an hour.

But, still, I keep pressing on to have a positive, can do attitude and be a real person with interests and hobbies and friends that she actually visits and stays in touch with and maybe tries to write her thoughts down every once in a while.

So fortitude was as good a word as any.