2016

I don’t like New Years Resolutions. They always lead to disappointment.

But every year I make them anyways.

This year, though, I want to call them goals. Because they aren’t things that I want to jump into head-on and overwhelm myself, they are things I want to carry out steadily until they become second nature; part of my routine; a lifestyle.

But I don’t want to tell you about my personal “goals” for the year. I want to tell you about what I want to do with this blog!

Last year, I made a commitment to post every week, and I stuck to it (for the most part), missing only seven posts over the course of the year. To me, that’s HUGE! If you’re interested, check out the exact statistics and how much posting on a weekly schedule really boost my readership here.

So, here are some goals that you, as a reader, can look forward to on this blog in the upcoming year:

A solid theme. When I really started focusing on this blog, it started out as a sudo-advice column for college students transitioning from school into the real world. Since then, it’s slowly turned into simply a personal blog with almost a diary-type feel to it. This is going to change. In the upcoming weeks I will be looking towards focusing more on things I love to do, i.e. writing and crafting! Expect more how-to’s and useful lists.

A new website! This one might take a while. Running a blog, even one as simple as this, takes a LOT of work. I’ve put hours upon hours into this thing, and I don’t get paid to do it. Not even Google pays me. That’s how much of a passion project this thing is. I’ve been looking for a way to transition towards a multi-page site that allows me to have more than one fluid posting page. Currently, I can have multiple pages, however every page except this one is stagnant, meaning I cannot publish individual posts to individual pages. If I want to edit something on another page, I have to go in and reformat that page manually. It also means that on other pages, you can’t call up certain posts according to tags or publish dates. This makes for a serious lack of organization and optimization that I hate.

Posting changes. Fridays are great, but I’m currently debating between a Saturday or Monday morning post time. This will give me more time to get posts perfected and to you without missing my deadline.

That’s all. I’m keeping it realistic, and trying not to overwhelm myself with too many to-dos. After all, like I said, I don’t get paid for this. And I’ve already got my work cut out for me.

I would love to hear your opinions on these goals as well. If you have a suggestion or something you enjoy reading on my blog, let me know in the comments. Your input is much appreciated!

-tlc

New Year Post: First Post of 2015!

Written while watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve:

I’m starting this year out a bit differently. As I sit here watching One Direction serenade a crowd of grown men, Jenna McCarthy list celebrity divorces of 2014, and read my Facebook friends’ sentimental 2014 reflections while my parents celebrate with a bottle of champagne in my uncle’s modular in small town South Dakota, I have a feeling 2015 is going to be my coolest year yet. Here are some things I’m thinking about this #NYE:

 

Resolution #1: Shorter posts

Let’s face it–how many times have I set a weekly post date for this site, stuck to it all of two or three weeks, dropped off the face of the Earth, and then spent half of my next post apologizing for such a long absence? That’s so 2014.  So, to keep up with the trends, I’m going to keep things simple, short, and sweet.

 

Resolution #2: NO APOLOGIES

Writing is about being honest, and comedy is about being honest, so comedic writing must be about being….random! But in all seriousness, there have been a lot of things on my mind I’d like to write about, but have held back in fear of making waves amongst friends and readers and those I love. But the best lessons, the wisest observations–the things that need to be said–those come from places of vulnerability. Discretion is key, but honesty is power. So, sorry in advance.

 

Resolution #3: I still kind of want to meet Nick Jonas.

#sorrynotsorry I’m watching him sing on TV as I write this and the 16 year-old in me is giggling uncontrollably, so, you know.

 

Resolution #4: Love More in the Moment

I spent a lot of 2014 worrying. I spent a lot of 2014 crying. I spent more time missing home in 2014 than I have since I was in the third grade and discovered I was terrified of sleeping over at friends’ homes. I know, though–when I truly let myself believe it–that my family isn’t going anywhere. They want me to be happy, have adventures, and find success. And they love me whether I’m half the world away or living in their basement (probably a little bit more when I’m living half the world away). So, in 2015 I’ve made a promise to myself to explore more, find the positives, and learn to love what’s given to me.

 

Resolution #5: Embrace Myself

In the last half a year, I’ve met more kinds of people than I have my entire life. I’ve witnessed several different personalities and life philosophies played out, and I’ve realized something: I never want to be a grumpy old man with a crass mouth. I don’t care if it means I’d be able to afford a Malibu mansion. If I ever scream at someone over the phone, then I’ve failed at life. I’m going to embrace my polite upbringing. In fact, I’d like to learn more patience and kindness in 2015. Because I believe that knowing myself, embracing my personality traits, and standing by them makes me a stronger person. And I also believe there’s a difference between being mean and standing your ground.

 

So there you have it. My five resolutions for this year. There isn’t going to be any “let’s see how long I keep to these.” I will. Affirmative thinking.

 

I will also being working out regularly again, as my grandmother has informed me that I’ve gained weight. But let’s face it: some things never change.

 

-tlc

Shake-speared, not Stirred

Oh Graduation, how do thee freak me out? Let me count the ways:

This has been an interesting seven days.  The good news is, I’m still alive after the first week of classes.  The bad news?  I had two semi-legitimate-but-mostly-just-me-being-dramatic panic attacks.  Why?  Let me start at the beginning.

Classes started on Tuesday this semester, since Monday was an extension of winter break in observance of MLK day. I went to my first class, play writing, and was extremely excited to finally see my mentor-professor in action in the classroom.  The class itself was also very enjoyable, despite only being syllabus day. To put it simply, my expectations were pretty high after that first class. However, I was still mostly in winter break mode, as I promptly went home and watched four episodes of Parks and Recreation before heading back out into the cold for my second class.

As a creative writing major, I am exempted from one of the six core classes required by KU in order to get my B.A. in English in exchange for taking a butt-load of creative writing courses.  The incessant over-achiever in me had, however, decided that taking that sixth course–in this case, Shakespeare–would be a good idea, not because I wanted the enrichment the course would give me, but because then I could say that I graduated within both the creative writing and English literature tracks of the major. Such an honest motive, such a terrible decision.

To be perfectly honest, Shakespeare at KU does not have the best reputation.  Most of the regular professors who teach the class on rotation get mild reviews from students, perhaps leaning slightly more towards the negative side of things.  Lots of “drones on and on in lectures,” “gets easily sidetracked,” and “easy grader, difficult assignments,” etc. (Let me reiterate: these are the reviews for many, but not all, of the professors who teach this class on a rotational basis).  And to be fair, Shakespeare is probably not an easy course to teach, let alone learn. Still, I knew going into the class that it was not going to be my favorite.  However, what I was not expecting was the syllabus I was handed that first day. I think the second I read the course assignments section I began to hyperventilate a wee bit.  The class required reading twelve plays (that much I knew ahead of time; all the Shakespeare courses required that intense reading schedule) but it also included a midterm exam (granted, the exam was a take-home test), a final exam, and two 2,500-3,000 word essays (which I later confirmed with my roommate is roughly 8-10 pages double-spaced).  Now, obviously none of this is insanely strenuous, and I have done all of these–taken midterms and final exams, written papers (some of them twice as long as these word requirements)–I’ve even done a combination of test-taking and paper-writing.  However, I’ve never taken on two lengthy essays in combination with two cumulative tests and this much reading, on top of three other course workloads and job searching/post-grad planning as well.

I believe my exact inner-monologue went a little something like this: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 

Needless to say, I high-tailed it out of that class as fast as I could, spending the next 36 hours in pure anxiety, trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do before finally getting permission to switch into a nonfiction writing class, something that, in the long run, has way more writing involved, but is a bit more my style, as far was work requirements go.

But shortly thereafter, I began to panic again, wondering if maybe I needed to take that Shakespeare class. Or worse yet, what if I had somehow overlooked something, and wouldn’t be able to graduate this semester?  Clearly, my anxiety is well-rooted in the illogical.  A quality of my character that I am sure my adviser finds endearing and not at all overbearing.

These two incidents are actually related, in retrospect, but that hasn’t stopped me from feeling completely excessive about both.

I posted a Facebook status about my feelings of anxiety towards this latter half, actually. That’s how I can tell the emotions are getting the best of me.  When I publicize myself, I am usually looking for fast-assurance and comfort when I can find none for myself, usually in the most dramatically-worded way I can come up with.  In this case, I described the feeling as though I was forgetting to pack something for a very long trip, even though I had been over the list again and again and could not remember what it was I thought I had forgotten. Thankfully, I am friends with my adviser on Facebook, and as soon as she saw my status she recognized my call for help and double-checked for me, clarifying on my account which emphasis I was under, so that my course requirements will show up correctly for my transcripts and graduation.

So now I am reduced to simply being anxious. Not about anything in particular, but just in general.  Perhaps as the weeks progress and I begin to function more consistently within a schedule again this feeling will go away.  Perhaps it won’t. Perhaps entering the real world means a certain level of anxiety all of the time.  However, I’ve always been a bit anxious. You’d think after so many years, it would start to dull itself and become less of an issue, but I suppose that isn’t the way things work when it comes to worry. I feel that, in that way, life is a bit like being Winnie the Pooh–always a little concerned, but always searching for the bright side as well.

Perhaps, in life, we are all Pooh bears.

Here’s to hoping “It’ll be fine,” as my dear adviser would say.

Until next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc