Learning to Dance in the Changes

This past week has been the harshest round of adulting yet. If I have to give anyone any advice, here it is:

  • Never move again. Ever.
    -OR-
  • Become a nomad and travel the world forever.

Here’s why I am sending this advice.

Moving is literally one of the most stressful things I have ever encountered. Especially in a new city, and especially moving without a car. And it’s not just moving from Place A to Place B. It’s not that simple. Like “woohoo here we go, we’re moving!” Nope, it’s nothing like that. You have to pack up years worth of crap that you never knew you accumulated in the first place, try to squeeze it all into boxes that you know will never fit, load it all up, drive or get to your new place however, and then unload everything, unpack, find a new place for everything….can I be done complaining yet?

Okay, great.

The other piece of advice – become a nomad and travel the world. Because that way, you barely have any belongings, and you never have to pack a day in your life!

So, okay. The nomad thing probably isn’t that realistic. But you get the point – packing, moving, etc. is stressful as hell. I’ve also had to think about buying furniture for the first time ever.

But here’s the thing about moving…hopefully, you are moving to pursue something new. A new job, a new school, a new love, a new life. Regardless of what the purpose is, a new chapter is about to ensue. A new page. A clean slate. A new beginning. And that is the piece that will lift you up, carry you through, and keep you moving forward. Because with every decision in life, there are push factors, and there are pull factors. 

For example, leaving Buffalo, there were a good number of push factors. These are the things that make you want to leave your current situation. And this doesn’t have to be a physical move either. It could be a job ending (yup), not finding your community (mhm), or graduation (check). In Buffalo, there were a lot of push factors. I had come for a very specific reason (to receive my master’s degree). And once I did that, I was done, and it was time to leave. Buffalo was pushing me out.

But now, I am feeling so many pull factors towards New York City. These are the reasons why you want to go someplace new. I have so many friends here, the job already seems like such a good fit, and it’s just…it’s the greatest city in the world!!

Maybe I’m biased because I just graduated, my job just ended, etc., but I feel like this time of year brings about so much transition and change, which, can be a bit unsettling for a lot of my twentysomething friends, and definitely a bit unsettling for myself. But, I’ve learned the only real way to conquer that feeling is to just truly embrace it. It’s like the rain. When you are walking in the pouring rain without an umbrella and four blocks to go, you can either duck under an awning and try to avoid it, still get wet, and watch time pass you by, or you could throw on a smile and dance in the rain.

And now, here I am – in NYC, in a rainstorm – feeling all the pull factors, in an apartment full of boxes, unpacked bags, and unfurnished rooms. But you know what…I couldn’t be happier.

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Building Home

This past week, I went to Selma, Alabama for New Way’s Nonviolence and Conflict Reconciliation Training. It was absolutely amazing, and so transformative. We learned about the six principles of nonviolence used by Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement, and I met some of the most incredibly genuine people in my entire life.

While so many things resonated with me over the course of the week, two things really stuck with me.

One of the volunteers in the middle of the week gave me a card. It read, “Home: family, shelter, dwelling place. I know you feel at home here, and it is not because of the place.” And that card could not be more accurate. I felt so completely at home in Selma, but I know it has nothing to do with the place itself. It was the feeling.

The second thing that resonated with me was in talking to a friend of mine in Selma, and she was talking about the “twentysomething” GroupMe that they all had. My ears perked up…I was like, “Hey! I have a blog about that!” But then she told me that they used to call themselves “The Twentysomethings,” but now they call themselves, “The Builders.” The builders of the next generation. The builders of a movement. And I absolutely love that. We are no longer youths, but we aren’t yet the elders. We are the next generation. We are the builders.

And naturally, I started thinking about how those two things are so correlated. So many of us are still looking for “home.” I know I am. And yet, we are still so young, which is so easy to forget, but we have the ability to build our future, to build our next step.

How are you building yours?

For me, I can think of three things.

  1. Family
    • In home, there is family. And there are so many different types of ways to define this. I immediately think of my nuclear blood family, but over the past seven years since I graduated high school (ew omg I can’t believe it’s been that long)…I’ve come to understand family in a more expansive view. It is your blood family, but it’s also your friends, it’s the people that’ll stay up with you until 4am when you’re struggling through something, or those who will make you laugh so hard that you start to cry. That is family.
  2. Community
    • I’ve learned something about myself over the past two years: if I’m not able to find a community around me, then I won’t be able to call that place home. Community is the night and weekend time. It’s the group outside of work. It’s the activities you are involved with. It’s fun, and it’s comforting, and it’s important.
  3. Love
    • And perhaps the most important thing of all…love. Unconditional love. Home is where there is no question of the love that is shared. It’s giving, it’s taking, it’s 100% reciprocal. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that this also includes self-love. If I’m not okay with who I am, I’m not able to love others. And nothing will feel like home if inside, I don’t feel like myself. To feel home is to feel love for yourself, to love, and be loved.

So, how are you building your home?

Going to Selma! …and other adult things.

 

When you’re an adult, you can eat out 3 or 4 nights a week and not have to worry about any immediate financial consequence.

When you’re an adult, you can stay up until 3am without anyone telling you no.

When you’re an adult, you can eat jellybeans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

When you’re an adult, you can spend hundreds of dollars on a flight ticket back to Selma, Alabama for a Summer Institute on Nonviolence and Conflict Reconciliation, just because you feel like it.

This week, I did three of the four adult things listed above. And I’ll give you a hint, the jellybeans thing didn’t happen.

So, in other words, I AM GOING BACK TO SELMA! And yes, it kind of is as simple as “I feel like it,” but there are other reasons, too, that I think are relatable to any other “adult” out there.

  1. Community
    • As a twentysomething, I think this is so important. I think most of us are college grads, so we are kind of in this weird transition between our college community and possibly creating our own family community. What’s in between? What does that community look like? For me, that’s one of the reasons why Buffalo wasn’t the easiest for me – it really lacked in the community I was looking for. But in Selma, the community was instantaneous. I felt it immediately. And sure enough, I was able to stay in touch with so many people there, who I am now honored to call my friends. I think as we grow, we start to form and develop all different types of communities, all over the world, and I’m glad to be returning to Selma, a community that is so close to my heart.
  2. Education
    • The organization in Selma, Something New, is hosting a Nonviolence Institute. They are incorporating Dr. Martin Luther King’s 6 Principles of Nonviolence, and teaching us how to teach others about these principles. In today’s world, there is no better time for this training. Professionally, I know I will be able to take this training with me wherever I go, but to be honest, I’m also really looking forward to the personal growth and development that I will experience. As someone who wants to learn as much as they can about advocacy, I think this training will provide the invaluable historical context and modern day tools that I have been searching for. As a twentysomething, our formal education might be over, but education is always worth investing in.
  3. Love
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” In Selma, I have never felt a greater, deeper love.  And in a world full of hate, I think my soul needs to be refueled with love. It’s in the small gestures. The invitations to dinner, the airport pickups, the genuine “how are you doing?” Selma has taught me such an expansive definition of love. As this week’s podcast episode of Invisibilia mentioned, it’s the concept of  “noncomplementarity.” When you show love, love will be reciprocated. When you radiate positive energy, other positive energy will be drawn to you.

Selma, I am ready for you.

However, I know we all can’t go to Selma (or maybe, the South just isn’t your thing). In what other ways are you finding your community, learning from it, and seeking love there? I don’t think these three things are “the keys to life,” or anything so serious, but I do think they hold a significant value.

What do you think?

Ending A Chapter

As of right now, not including today, I have 18 days left in Buffalo. I remember the days when I was sitting in a back-to-back class where it felt like I had 18 years left in Buffalo and that it would never end. But now, 18 days.

I’m not necessarily sad about leaving the physical place that is Buffalo. I get the whole revitalization piece, and the Bills are like, okay…but what I’ll miss most about it is the people. I have met so many incredible people over the last two years, in completely unexpected ways. I have also strengthened some already existing friendships over the past two years, and that has also been incredible.

So in the words of one of my good friends…TO FRIENDSHIP!

Leslie-Knope-Cheers.gif

But, as we all know, as one door closes, another door opens. And even though I may not know what that other door is, I know that another opportunity will be waiting for me. But in the meantime, I wanted to make sure I learned to be at peace with Buffalo, specifically, leaving Buffalo and ending another life chapter. So, here are my words of wisdom for this awfully tricky time.

  1. Make peace with the past and right your wrongs
    • This is probably the toughest one on this list, which is why I started with it. It’s also the most important. When I left my job before coming to Buffalo, I really couldn’t wait to leave. It wasn’t necessarily the people or the town or the place or any one thing in particular. It’s just that, I wasn’t at peace with my situation. And rather than try to make peace with it, I just up and left. And looking back, I think it would’ve been nice to have that comfort in officially closing that chapter 100%.
  2. Make a Bucket List, and do it
    • I’ve thought about starting a Buffalo Bucket List before today, but never went through with it – I had thought I had done all the Buffalo things I wanted to do. But then I’ve been seeing all these “Buffalo Checklists” on Facebook, and I have a few friends who are desperately trying to convince me to stay in Buffalo…and even though I have no intention of staying, I might as well make the most of it while I’m here and enjoy the time I have left.
  3. Reflect on time spent
    • I spent two years out of my life in Buffalo! Not only that, but it’s where I did my graduate work, and where I had a really amazing start in diversity education work. I will never forget these two years. But it’d also be easy for me to kind of just move on to the next thing and say, “Yeah, two years in Buffalo for grad school,” and that’s it. When the reality is, I learned so much here and met so many great people.
  4. Say goodbye
    • Maybe this one is obvious…but I think it goes back to making peace with the place you are leaving. With the chapter you are closing. Make sure to take the time to thank all the people who have been influential during your time there.
  5. Plan a return trip
    • It’s hard to leave all these people that I love and care about. For me, it’s always been easier to leave if I already had plans to come back. Fortunately, I am working to help plan a conference that will be happening in Buffalo in October, so I will definitely be back for that. But even if you never want to go back to the place ever again, plan a trip with the people from that place, the friends you’ve made, so you know when you’ll be seeing them again.

And just remember, even if the next chapter isn’t in sight, you are the author of your own life.

Try. Fail. Never Give Up.

Try, try, try again. We hear it all the time. But I’ve never heard the “fail” part that comes after trying. And the “never give up” part? Although it’s said all the time, it’s rarely felt, especially when you feel like you are slowly on the decline and about to hit rock bottom.

Let me give you some background. In most of my life transitions, I’ve never been faced with as many obstacles as I’m being faced with right now. After high school, I applied to one college, my number one choice, and was accepted. After that, I conducted a job search for a full-time hall director position. I was offered two positions and picked the one that I liked the best. Afterwards, I applied to one graduate program, was accepted and received a fellowship. Life was peachy – transition and change were a natural part of my life. The trying was often – the failure was rare.

I know I am fortunate because of this. And I’m not telling you all this to make you feel bad for me during this current transition and change. But what I am saying is that sometimes, with trying, comes failure. And most of us probably know that. So in addition to that piece, it’s important to never ever give up. And never ever settle.

Earlier last week, I was feeling pretty low. I was getting some calls from jobs I had absolutely no intention of taking (I know, boohoo me), but for someone who lives so much of their life and passion through their work, I couldn’t just accept any old job. I need my next job to be something I like, not just something that pays the bills.

So, I had one of my friends give me a tarot reading. And her message, which seemed so eye-opening at the time, was essentially the same message I’m sharing now. Keep trying. You may fail. But never give up.

Keep Trying
I hate to keep relating this to the job search. So, in another relevant example this week: I have been trying to write a book as long as I knew how to hold a pencil. I’ve gone through dozens of ideas, and a handful of forgotten word documents are left still sitting deep within my computer files. But within the past two years or so, I came across one idea that really stuck with me, and I haven’t been able to forget about it since. I would write a little every day after work, pack my laptop and notebook and head to the local coffee shop and have a grand time by myself writing my soon-to-be novel.

You May Fail
But, like most of the other books, this particular idea began to collect dust. Work got really busy, school picked up, it wasn’t the right time, I wasn’t feeling motivated, etc., etc. I could go on an endless rant, excuses after excuses about why I wasn’t writing my book. Why I stopped. Why I was so unmotivated. But the reality is, I had failed myself. And that’s okay. I had a goal to write a book by a certain time, and I never did. Life gets in the way, it happens.

But Never Give Up
The important part is, and I’m still learning this, is never give up. Never settle. I was about to take a job that I barely wanted. And going back to the book, earlier this weekend I called a good friend just to hash out some of the details of the plot and plow through some of my writer’s block. After that conversation, I am feeling so incredibly motivated to write. The may be 75,000 words, but every word counts. Never give up. It’s never too late.

 

Finding the Path to Purpose

“WHAT IS MY PURPOSE!???!!”

If you haven’t asked yourself that question at least once as a twentysomething, you’re lying to yourself. And from what I’ve gathered from most people I know, that is a question that isn’t limited by age.

A few days ago, I was getting coffee with a friend, catching up, life stuff, etc. And per usual in my conversations lately, it went something like this, “I still don’t have a job, I have no idea what I want to do, I feel lost, I don’t know what my purpose is.”

And my friend simply took a deep breath – inhaled, exhaled – and then asked me two questions.

1. What are your passions?

Well this one is easy for me. I could go on a whole tangent about the social justice issues that I am passionate about and want to advocate for. The problem is, I’m not always sure how to do that (we’ll get to that later). But my passions? Advocating for LGBTQ rights, racial justice, opportunities for youth, access to education…the list continues.

But what are your passions? These are the things that are the spark in your life. Anytime someone mentions one of these things, you get excited and know that you could talk and listen about that topic for hours.

2. What are your gifts?

This one was a little harder for me to answer. My gifts? Well, I’m not always sure about that one. Call it self-doubt, call it lack of confidence. It’s easy to get in the habit of thinking that we aren’t special, or that we don’t have any gifts. When really, the opposite is true. We are all unique and we all have gifts.

Even now as I type this post, I’m doubting my gifts again. But I’m working on one of my gifts right now – writing! I love to write, and I’ve been able to keep this blog for over a year, which makes me think there is some sort of gift there. I also know that I have a talent in connecting with people (I didn’t realize this was a talent until I had some perspective shifting, and I’ve learned that not everyone is able to do that).

So, what are your gifts?

_______

Those were her two questions.

  1. What are your passions?
  2. What are your gifts?

The tricky part about this is combining these two. How can you serve your passions while also utilizing your gifts?

Now THAT is the question.

But still, it made me feel better about my current situation. Because at the end of the day, I know I have passions, and I know I have gifts. We all do. And maybe it’s okay if those passions/gifts aren’t being fulfilled 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. That shouldn’t stop me from starting a really cool social justice themed blog, or from volunteering with youth on the weekends.

It’s a big world, people. And I don’t think we will ever find our “one purpose.” I think there are multiple. And as another friend of mine says, “Discourse always provides a course.” So even if we are navigating through the discourse, know that the discourse will always lead to some course. Some path. And for me, that is enough.

Thank You, Fathers

Today is Father’s Day. A day of celebration, appreciation, and love for the fathers and father-figures in our lives. Due to the recent attack on LGBT lives in Orlando, I wanted to take a minute and share my thanks to my own father, but also, the Fathers of The Movement.

A Brief History Lesson: 
The Stonewall Riots occurred in June of 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. On a hot, summer night in 1969, the police began (yet another) raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay club, questioning the legality of gay people. Rather than accepting the discrimination and oppression from the police, the patrons of Stonewall fought back…one of the first collective well-known gay riots in history.

This was the official start of the Gay Liberation Movement. This is why we celebrate Pride in June (formally known as Christopher Street Liberation Day). Yes, now a celebration of identity and self-love. But it started as a celebration of life, when death was too-close a reality.

Liberation

Back to the Present:
Orlando, 2016. A popular LGBTQ club attacked on Latinx night. But this time, there was no fighting back. It’s hard to fight back against a gun. Lives lost, defenseless. And so many other affected by the tragedy.

To be honest, I don’t want to get into the details of the present. If for no other reason, this post is intended as a thank you – not a current news recap. With that said…

Thank You to My Father:
We believe in everything different. I say stop, you say go. Welcome, stay out. A choice, a child. We disagree on a lot of things. But the one thing we never disagree on is love. Because love always wins. I love that we can argue for over an hour, and then say I love you afterwards. I love that you can listen to me cry after Orlando. And I love that I can be myself around you, feeling completely vulnerable and safe. And I know that I am so incredibly fortunate to have a father like you, when so many in my position do not. I love you, Pap. Thank you, for everything.

Thank You to Our Fathers:
On this day, exactly one week from the Orlando Massacre, and coincidentally, Father’s Day, I would like to say thank you to those whose lives were lost in 1969 and all the LGBT lives who were lost prior to that, all the lives that were lost since then, and all the lives to be lost during this fight. The Founding Fathers (and Mothers) of the Gay Liberation Movement started this fight for equal rights. Because we, as people, deserve it. We deserve equal rights. We deserve love. To be the subject and target of hate for so long is unfair. It’s so sad and it’s so heavy.

But today is a new day. What was done in Orlando was wrong and it was hateful and it was terrifying in a way that I have never experienced anything else in my entire life. But because of our Founding Community at Stonewall, we can continue the work. We don’t have to be covered in a blanket of smothering hate. We can move forward.

A Call to Action:
Let the past dictate the future. Let our Founding Community guide us forward. The generations of today, the twentysomethings and all the age groups around us…we have the power to demand change.

So many straight allies have told me, “I’m tired to sitting down.” Orlando sparked something in everyone, LGBT and allied friends, and it’s time to use that. It’s time to use that energy and that determination to stand up and fight for justice. To fight for change.

Fight Back.jpg

Because enough is enough. Hate can only win for so long. And the one way to overcome hate? With love. Because love is love is love is love, and love always wins.

Re-Branding Yourself

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
-George Bernard Shaw

So folks, here it is. I’m probably the biggest culprit of saying, “I need to go find myself.” My latest example? Wanting to travel to Paris to become an au pair to “find myself.” But maybe it’s less about that, and more about creating myself.

Over the past semester, I’ve been working with a student on re-branding my blog’s image. I wanted to come up with a new logo design, other than my piecemeal amateur scribbles. So, I knew an amazing student who does really amazing graphic design work, and I asked her to help me out. And I am SO HAPPY with the final product. Here it is!

Aren’t they great?! I loved both designs so much that I’m still not sure which one to use. Help me decide?

This re-branding idea though also directly relates to life right now. It’s not about branding yourself. It’s about the re-brand.

Going along with the same metaphor here, there are some phases in life that might feel like the initial design. The sketches, the first drafts. Or even, sometimes you might think that is is “the final draft.” But then looking at it again, something just doesn’t feel right. You know it can be tweaked, or that line can be shaped a little bit differently. It’s in these moments of confusion, and only in these moments, where we are able to learn the most about who we are. It’s confusion because just after you think it was finished, you start to see all these ways in which it could be different.

I’ll give you an example. This job search process has been so completely and utterly stressful. I’ve been applying to jobs since January, and was getting absolutely nothing. And at first, I knew I was qualified for jobs, thought of myself as a pretty good candidate. A great candidate, even. I thought I was “the finished product.” But then, I wasn’t hearing back, so I started to get discouraged and was really down on myself about it. I realized I had a lot of things to learn, and was really only able to learn them through this time.

I needed to do some re-branding. I needed to stop searching for myself, and start creating myself. 

For me, I know I needed to focus on my social well-being. That is something that hasn’t always been the best for me. Ideally, yes, I’d love a job right now. But I can’t do much about that. And when I’m down on myself, I tend to retreat into my own space like a hermit crab in it’s shell. I needed to start seeing friends again. And so, I think I’ve done more things in Buffalo this past week than I have in this past year. I’ve also spent more money than I’d like to admit, but a small price to pay for friendship…right?

So my question then, for all of you this week, is how do you want to be re-branded? What parts of your illustration and design are you going over repeatedly with an eraser and a new line? It’s a difficult process, and I don’t think it ever stops. I talk about the “twentysomething” experience, but I think this constant change and growth is all throughout life.

So, why wait? Let’s get started.

 

 

16 Reasons to Celebrate Your Single Self

Being 25, I am now finding more conversations revolving around partners, marriages, and even…KIDS! Just five years ago, if someone were to tell me they’d be having a child, it’d almost be scandalous. Gosh, you’re so young!

But being 25, it’s almost expected. One of my best friends is having a baby this year, and another friend is getting married in a few months…and I am TOTALLY EXCITED for both things.

But then, I’m over here like: Cheers.gif

Maybe it’s just wedding season, or maybe everyone else is just feeling the love bug. But I’m not getting married, and I am definitely not feeling any sort of bug. I don’t mind talking to people about their partners, their weddings, etc…but social media is also plagued. “We’re engaged!” “Wedding photos!” “Look at us smiling together by this lilac bush because we love each other so much!!”

Okay, it’s just a lot.

So, I’m hoping to spread some Single’s Awareness pride on the social medias to counter that, and to make all the other single people out there feel just a tad better.

Sometimes, I wish I had a person to share things with, but most of the time, I’m like, “Eff that!” Too much work. So, here are my top 16 reasons to embrace your single status.

  1. You can literally do whatever you want, whenever you want, and not have to consult anyone about it
    • “Honey, I’m thinking about going to meet Chad for dinner Thursday night…” “Oh no, we promised Jen and Mike we’d meet them for dinner that night, don’t you remember?” Well, damn.
  2. Becoming more self-aware
    • I have learned so much about myself because I’m single and have had the time to discover new things about myself, by myself.
  3. Independence
    • Enough said?
  4. Guilt-free flirting, and…other things
    • Flirting (and other things) can be fun! And there is no better time than right now to explore, experiment, and figure out what you like.
  5. You can eat whatever you want for dinner
    • Pizza every night? Sure.
  6. Having unlimited time to yourself, for yourself
    • I love coming home, not having to say hello to anyone, getting in sweatpants, and doing whatever the eff I want. Without anyone to bother me.
  7. No drama 
    • No partner, no drama.
  8. You don’t have to settle or compromise
    • A common theme: you can do whatever you want to do, without having to consider where your partner’s job takes them next, what movie they want to see, what they want to listen to, etc.
  9. You don’t have to worry about drinking too much when you go out and accidentally making out with a stranger on the dance floor.
    • …or is that just me?
  10. Adding meaning to your life
    • Your conversations gain a certain depth when someone asks you about how you are doing, and you don’t immediately respond by talking about another person.
  11. Casual dating
    • I don’t mind dating – especially if it gets me a free dinner. And, at the end of the day, even if I’m not looking for my life partner, it’s still nice to meet some new people.
  12. No one to impress
    • You don’t (necessarily) have to keep everything primped, trimmed, and primed just for another person.
  13. Travel
    • It’s easier (and so much cheaper) to plan a vacation for one.
  14. Finances
    • I can barely handle my own bank account, let alone all those conversations about joint banking, combining finances…hell no. Plus, you’re not spending money on dates that will never go anywhere.
  15. You get the whole bed to yourself
    • And all the sheets and all the blankets!
  16. Building confidence within yourself 
    • This is like that “teach a man to fish” quote. If you always rely on someone else to compliment you or provide validation, it can easily be broken.  But as a single person, you can learn how to be your own best self, by yourself, which is an invaluable experience.
      You're Awesome.jpg

Trying to Find the “Perfect Fit”

The universe is really testing me, lately.

finally hear back from a job in New York City, get all excited and prepared for the on-campus interview, and then when I make it on campus, within the first two minutes, I know it’s not the right fit for me. And to be honest, I knew it from the very first email that was sent to me. Call it intuition…?

Regardless, it wasn’t for me. And even though I already knew it before I even stepped foot on campus, I was still disappointed. There I was, in this absolutely gorgeous area of NYC, with everything else a perfect fit, except the actual job I was interviewing for.

Such is life, right?

Surprisingly, when I was telling people about my experience afterwards, the most common questions was, “Would you still take the job if they offered it?”

…what? I don’t understand. Weren’t you listening? I said it wasn’t a good fit, so why would I take it?

[Now, I understand that there is one caveat in this story: adulting. Ugh, it’s the worst. So yes, I understand that reasons why I would take the job include: a competitive salary, a benefits package, insurance, and for no other reason, being offered a job when my current job will be ending very soon. I get all of that. But for the purpose of this blog post, all of that is null and void].

I think that’s one of the biggest differences between our generations today. i.e.:

My dad: Take the job! It’s money! A job is a job! Money is money!
Me: [whiny voice] But it’s not what I love to do!!!!!!

And so on and so forth.

But I’ve been thinking – life is like a shopping spree. Think of your favorite store. Everything always fits perfectly, the price is right. Sometimes, life will be like that. The jackpot. You got the job, you were promoted, you found the love of your life, etc. But then think of your least favorite store – the one you don’t even bother going in…yeah, that one. Nothing ever fits, it’s too expensive, the staff aren’t very nice. Sometimes, life can be like that, too.

Except with life, you don’t really have a choice about which store to walk into.

EXCEPT! And here’s the catch: we do have a choice. We, as humans, have free will and human agency. Aka, the ability to make choices, even in the face of whatever predestined fate there may or may not be.

So, for a very real example, the other day I decided to walk into H&M, which, is usually my jackpot store. But that day, everything seemed to be off. Nothing was fitting right, I wasn’t finding any good sales. I was just about done and ready to walk out of the store when I saw this amazing summer shirt that I fell in love with. Short-sleeved, button down, light blue and navy trims…but of course, the small was too small and the medium was too big, and I just hated it. You all know the feeling, right?

And here’s where I actually get to the point, so get ready.

That H&M shirt didn’t fit, so I didn’t buy it. Why would I? It’s like everything else in life. Does it fit? No? Then forget about it.

Jobs, relationships, friendships, hobbies, activities…literally anything. Why do we spend so much time trying to make things fit into our lives that we don’t even want there in the first place? It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

And as my love, role model, inspiration, and sunshine goddess Tori Kelly sings, “It’s just the art of letting you go.” Letting go is an art form. And sometimes, we just need to learn to let go of an opportunity. A friendship. A hobby. Because even though it may be amazing for someone else, if it’s not the right fit for you, than it’s not right. Period.