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I’ve become the perpetual third wheel. The missing sock in a drawer full of pairs, the earring that has lost its match, the one burnt out headlight. And I’m totally okay with it. My best friend of nearly 15 years has been dating this new guy for about 6 months now, and I have to say that I’ve become really comfortable being the single friend in that group. I actually really like it.

If you feel like you’re the constant third wheeler, or you’re just bored with being on your own, here are 5 reasons to remind you why being single is the bees knees!

1.  You have a ton more free time.

Let’s be honest: being in a relationship is like having a full-time job. It takes commitment, communication, attention, effort, energy, and lots and lots of time. In fact, relationships are only truly successful if they are given the care that they deserve from both parties! But now that you’re single, you don’t have to worry about all the extra stress that comes from putting your energy into a significant other. You can just chill. You can spend your extra time exploring new hobbies, hanging out with friends, catching up with family. Your don’t have to feel like your days off are tied down to one specific person. You can go with the flow of your life.

2. You can focus on yourself.

Often times, focusing on yourself when you’re dating somebody else can come across as entirely selfish. When you’re not tied down, you have the opportunity to truly dive into who you are, and who you want to be. You can explore yourself independently, and really discover your goals and aspirations outside of being in love with another human. Because it’s true, being in love can be super distracting from the many other things we want out of life. It can take you away from the endless meaningful opportunities than lie in front of us daily. Right now, you don’t have to worry about that!

3. You don’t have to “check in” on anyone.

You don’t have to feel obligated to see what anybody’s up to, and you can completely check out for a while if you want to. You don’t owe anybody a phone call or text explaining what you’ve been up to the last few hours; you don’t have to worry about giving detailed descriptions of your day; you don’t have to talk to anybody if you don’t want to. You are free of emotional and romantic obligation to a partner. Phew!

4. You’re probably going to save a lot of money.

In my past relationships, I’ve always been the type of girlfriend to really spoil her partner. I’ve always been a really hard worker, and when I’m dating someone who identifies as a man, I try my best not to conform to the bullshit notion that he is supposed to pay for everything. And let me tell you – that can be expensive! Being single allows me to save more money, as well as treat myself more. And it can do the same for you! When you want to buy a book that’s been on you to-read list for a while, you can just go and buy it. When you want that new shirt that you saw while window shopping the week before, you can go back and grab it. Not that you’re not able to do any of those things when you’re taken, but still! Everything adds up, and because you have one less birthday and anniversary gift to worry about, you have a little more cash in your pocket.

5. You can enjoy the flirtatious fun of being single.

If you meet a cute boy, you can flirt it up as much as you want. If you start to crush on that girl that sits next to you in class, there’s nothing holding you back from letting her know. If you want to go out on a bunch of dates and have a hoot, you’re free to do so. You can give your number to whoever you want, and you can talk to whoever you want. There’s a lot of freedom and fun that comes from being unattached, and there comes a lot of opportunity to meet a lot of new people.

As I read through this list, I laugh a little at the fact that it kind of sounds like I’m trying to convince myself that I like being on my own. The truth of the matter is that there was a point in time when I really didn’t. I felt insecure and unloved and unsure about myself. But I am so grateful to say that I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel really, really free.

Until I meet someone who makes me want to leave the single life behind, I’m going to dance, laugh, smile, and enjoy my incredible life all on my own! Because it feels good. It really does.

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I can legally enter most of the venues within walking distance of my apartment today. Because I am legal! The big 2-1. Able to freely enter the many concerts, bars, and 21+ events that I’m constantly surrounded by in this urban life.

To celebrate my 21 years on this planet, I’m going out to dinner tonight with my family and a few friends. Tomorrow, I’m having my first birthday party in nearly 10 years. Saturday, the 21 run commences! It’s going to be a wild weekend to say the last, so I decided that now is the time to do some thoughtful reflecting before chaos ensues.

I wrote a list of 21 things I’ve learned in my lifetime. I’m a big fan of lists (and schedules, planners, general type A bullshit). So here are some things I’ve learned so far. I stand by my beliefs and exclamations below, but just a disclaimer: the one thing I do know for sure is that I don’t know anything for sure.

  1. Time is my absolute most valuable asset.
  2. Especially in my early twenties, establishing friendships is far more important than dating.
  3. Sadness is just as important and necessary for growth (if not more so) than happiness.
  4. Parents are people, too: fallible, full of insecurities and flaws, and doing their best to make peace with themselves.
  5. The two most important relationships in my life are my relationship with myself, and my relationship with the Infinite.
  6. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.
  7. J.K. Rowling is a genius. (Which is why my 21st birthday part is Harry Potter themed hehe)
  8. The Universe has my back and it works in mysterious ways.
  9. If I sincerely want a relationship to work out, taking time to allow it to grow naturally and authentically gives it the best chance possible to do so.
  10. It’s so vital to call parents, guardians, and those I care about regularly and remind them how valuable they are to me.
  11. Taking time for myself is of utmost importance so that I can learn how to set my own boundaries and learn how to be alone and content.
  12. Doing drugs just simply isn’t worth the risk.
  13. Sharing my story openly and authentically is one of the best ways to build community within myself and with others.
  14. There is immense beauty in vulnerability.
  15. Pride should never get in the way of prayer.
  16. I am Enough.
  17. Owning up to mistakes and living unapologetically in my own skin can work in tandem together.
  18. Not everyone deserves to receive my affection and attention.
  19. The best way to attract good friends is to be one.
  20. I will not go one day without telling somebody I love them.
  21. I will not go one day without telling myself that, too.

So these are the 21 reflections that I know to be true and authentic to my story and my experience thus far. What are some important lessons you’ve learned so far in your lifetime? Reflect and meditate on that. Write them down. Look at them in years to come. You’ll be surprised at how great you are at giving advice, and perhaps the words you write down today will be the very ones you need to read 5, 10, 15 years from now.

And with that, I’m signing off. Cheers to being alive! Cheers to being of age!

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There are those days when I don’t feel like socializing or putting on pants. That’s when I either a) lock myself in my apartment with a Modern Family DVD and thin crust pizza b) put on a skirt, grab a cup of coffee, and suck it up. It’s more often the latter due to the never-ending responsibilities that life hands me (class, work, deadlines, due dates, friendships, internships, family obligations, the list continues on and on and on…), but there have been many moments when I wish I could crawl under my covers for hours at a time and not see the light of day. There have been some moments when I’ve done just that. Because I just. can’t. think. anymore.

I have a brain that works at an impossibly fast rate, bouncing from point A to point B to point F to point Z. It’s a distraction, and often times I have trouble finishing the project I started because I’m thinking about the other 1,000 goals and projects and ideas I have. I have wondered before if I suffer from an attention “disorder”, but I have not been medically diagnosed and I don’t think I’m at the point of needing medication. More than anything, I take it as a personality quirk.

 If you know me personally, you also know that I can talk about a million miles a minute. And although I articulate myself well (thanks to years and years of acting classes and tongue twisters), it goes to show how easily my mind bounces around. Which can be very, very problematic. Sometimes I wonder how I ever get anything done.

So I’ve come up with a list for those bouncy, all-over-the-map, mind-racing-a-million-times-a-minute kind of people. I know you’re out there! I know I’m not alone! And if we can establish some good habits, we may actually finish something before its deadline. *Knock on wood*

When you’re crunched for time, when you have a deadline, or when you just want to be goddamn productive, do this:

Put away your phone.

1. *GASP* I know! It’s crazy to think that the technological extension of our bodies will be gone for any point in time (I mean we practically sleep with Siri), and you don’t even have to put it on silent if you’re expecting an important phone call or text, but put. it. aside. Turn up the volume if necessary, but then place it across the room from you and don’t pick it up unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Find your sanctuary.

2. Find out which kind of atmosphere you’re most productive in. For me, it’s a coffee shop or café. Some people cannot work with any noise whatsoever, but I like being surrounded by hustling and bustling people. It actually helps me focus better than being in a quiet library or in my own home. That’s actually where I am right now to write this post, so find your sweet spot, and go to it.

Find out if you work better together, or alone.

3. Do not hang out with distracting people when trying to get something done. For me, this is primarily a problem when I’m studying or doing homework. There are some friends that I can study with and get a lot done. In fact, I prefer to study with people who are in my same classes because it’s really helpful to have other minds to bounce ideas off of, but if you do not have those kinds of individuals to surround yourself with, then opt for being alone. There have been far too many times when I’ve sat down to study and ended up chatting with my buddy across from me for three hours and then had to stay up ’til 3 am finishing a paper. No bueno.

Give yourself a break.

4. Give yourself breaks and time them. How often and for how long is up to you, but for me, I give myself a 5 minute break every 30 minutes if I’m working on an intense project or paper. I cannot concentrate well after about 30 minutes of pure focus anyway, so giving myself a break to either chat, check my phone, or browse the interweb usually helps me get back on track. But that’s only, only if I set a timer for my breaks. Otherwise those 5 minutes turns into 50…

Say goodbye to Facebook stalking.

5. Temporarily deactivate your Facebook. I don’t find this necessary unless I’m facing a particularly difficult finals week… but for some of you, Facebook is the ultimate tool for procrastination. If you are one of those people, just temporarily deactivate your account and don’t reactivate it until you are free from finals or midterms. Just that action alone will probably save you a lot of time.

Caffeinate, caffeinate, caffeinate.

6. Drink coffee (but not too much). This seems obvious coming from a Seattleite, but seriously… Coffee is my life and it helps me stay energized and focused as long as I don’t overdo it. And if by accident I do, then I end up being far more jittery and don’t get anything done. Be careful… but treat yourself to that double shot vanilla latte!

Reward yourself.

7. And lastly, give yourself goals to achieve and reward yourself when you do. They can be as small as getting yourself a treat after you finish at least half of your term paper, or they can be bigger like buying that extremely cozy sweater you’ve been dying to have if you get an A on your term paper. Either way, set yourself up with a reward system and stick to it. Treat yo’self.

Those are some of my tips and tricks for staying on track and gettin’ shit done. As I enter my junior year of college, this has been something I’ve been thinking about… Along with about a million other things… And I hope it helps you, too! Hey! Kudos to you for finishing this entire blog post without getting distracted. Now get off the internet, and get back to work! But promise you’ll come back and visit me soon. xx.

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I have a campus job that allows me to meet new people, talk about my college experience, and occasionally get homework done or scroll through the interweb. I can’t complain! It’s the perfect part-time gig during college. Lately, I’ve seen lots of new faces around. Usually, this is a rarity. I go to a pretty small university, and most of the faces I see around campus, I’ve seen at least once before. But the new faces actually don’t come as a surprise seeing that it’s the beginning of a new school year and freshmen are swarming in every direction – trying to find class, trying to find friends, trying to fit in. I find myself chuckle with familiarity.

This on-campus job provides me with a lot of opportunity for people watching. My coworkers and I get exposed to a lot of situations and stories, as college life plays out right before our eyes. The confused, excited, and overwhelmed expressions I see planted on the faces of new college students passing by has gotten me thinking about my freshman year – some things I did wrong, some things I did right, and everything in-between. I get a lot of questions about college life from my readers and viewers, so I thought I’d share a list of freshman year “do’s and don’ts” that may help ease the transition a bit.

Do push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If that means joining your school’s improv team, sitting with strangers during lunch, or reaching out to get to know your professors, just do it. This is something I wish I had done a lot more of during my first year of college, and I’m insisting you do it now. The absolute worst thing that could happen by doing this is that you feel slightly awkward or uncomfortable, but more likely than not, this is how you’re going to meet your social circle, this is how you’re going to bond with your favorite professor, this is how you’re going to have an absolute ball during your 4 short years of college.

Don’t isolate yourself by clinging to the first friend group you meet. Most people completely change their social circles throughout the first year or two of school. Don’t attach to the first group of people you meet without leaving wiggle room for new friends and new experiences. If you authentically connect with people, then be grateful for meeting them and nourish the friendships! But make sure you put yourself out there to meet others. Widen your social circle and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people in your classes, on your hall, or in your study groups.

Do go to your professor’s office hours. College is fucking expensive – RIDICULOUSLY expensive. You are paying a lot of money for this slip of paper you’re going to receive at the end of these 4 years, so make sure it’s worth it. Of course you’ll learn a lot in actual classrooms or lecture halls, but I found that some of my most fruitful discussions and lessons have come from going to my professor’s office hours and just chatting with him/her. A lot of the time I go in with specific questions for assignments or tests, yes, but I also try to build a bridge between my professor and I, and get to know them and their story. I know the culture of larger universities may frown upon this, but screw the people who do not see the value and importance of taking advantage of your college experience as much as possible. It’s going to fly by – so make every penny count.

Don’t jump into a relationship your first month of school. I know, I know… There are so many new people! There are cute boys and girls every way you turn, and you want to explore the dating scene and find your college sweetheart. Well, don’t. Focus on your friendships first and foremost when it comes to your social life. Those are far, far, far more important than the cute baseball player that sits next to you in your English 101 class. You don’t want to be the person who gets wrapped up in the first romance you come across because it’s exciting and new. Give yourself time to settle into college and connect with friends, then open yourself up to dating. If you do, however, meet somebody you just can’t pass up (because it definitely happens!), make sure you don’t make them the center of your world. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes college students of all ages make when they’re young and in love.

Do go to college events. Your university will have some kind of student-led group that plans activities and events on and off campus. You may think you’re too cool for school, and you’d rather hit up that party down the block instead of going to a movie night in one of the dorms, but I’m telling you… These events are often way more fun than you realize, and whatever party you’re going to, it’ll probably be filled with annoying frat boys and shitty drinks. I’m not saying to refrain from the party scene entirely – I’m just saying that it’s important to balance it with college events that will allow you to meet and connect with sober individuals.

Don’t act like somebody you’re not to gain approval from a certain social circle. Every college freshman is confused out of their mind, and is searching for some kind of social interaction to make the transition easier. Everybody’s putting up a front and protecting their egos, and that’s natural and okay. But make sure you’re not doing it so much that you’re losing your identity and bonding with the wrong group of friends for you. I think the best way to avoid this is to connect with people who have the same interests as you. Join clubs, go to sporting events, and reach out to people who you have stuff in common with. Ignore the bitchy girls on your floor that think they’re the hottest things since sliced bread, and make room for the people who will be super impressed by the collection of Harry Potter posters you have plastered on your dorm room wall (this was definitely me my freshman year).

All right.. I’m stepping down from my soapbox. Above all, don’t worry too much about anything. Give yourself time to settle in, call home often to check in, and keep reminding yourself to make the most of your college years. I’m halfway through and I feel like I was in my 1st year orientation last week. I’m here to tell you that the rumors are true, though… College has the potential to be some of the best years of your life. Get ready for one hell of a ride!

If you have any more questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to leave them below or tweet me so we can chat! Best wishes and best of luck to all new college students! xx.

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Today is my last day of summer; tomorrow I start the first quarter of my junior year of college. So naturally, it’s time to do a little summer recap.

This summer has been a summer of healing. It has been one of deep sadness and grief. It has been a summer of a loss of identity, and a summer of renewal and growth. It has been by far the most difficult, and most rewarding, time in my life. And as  I turn a new chapter in my story, I stop and look at the one I just finished. I am overcome by how much I gained among all the loss, and how much I found within myself. I found the ability to feel deep depression. I found the strength to step out of that depression. I found self love, compassion, and courage. I found God more than I ever have before, and in that, I found myself, too.

The past few months weren’t like the summer before this one. They weren’t filled with days at the beach, and nights I can barely remember. They weren’t filled with friends, booze, and a deep urgency to lose myself in something external. This summer was about me; helping myself, loving myself, questioning myself. And not in an egotistical way. Not in an inauthentic cover-up kind of way. In a truly beautiful and honest way. In a way that will undoubtedly help me give myself more freely to others and all that I do.

I think the saying is true that time heals all wounds. But I also think there’s an important piece that is left out in that. It’s not just time that heals all, but time with God. Time with yourself. Time to feel, process, understand, misunderstand, start over, question, and begin anew. Time to develop a deeper understanding of your purpose, your relationship with who you are, your relationship with something Bigger, something Grander than whatever you’ve just lost. Time with the Infinite.

Perhaps you’ve just gone through something similar. Just maybe this post resonates with where you’ve just been, or with where you are. Or you may just be starting this journey. You may be in one of the valleys of your life, just wishing, hoping for another peak.

All that I can share is that wherever you are right now, that is exactly where you ought to be. This is a part of your story. And every story has problems, valleys, struggles, dilemmas. It wouldn’t be a story without those pieces. It wouldn’t be life without the downs to compliment the ups. So breathe. Be at peace with where you are. You will come out of this, I promise. And if you let the pain guide you, it may just guide you home. Into exactly who you are. Into exactly who you want to be. Into a true acceptance, peace, and happiness with the beautiful life that is yours.