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Author of An Ordinary Age, out 5/4/2021. Freelance writer. Kentuckian.

Here’s what to do with that late-pandemic impulse to make a big change

Blowing up your life has always seemed like a romantic idea — shrugging off all the things that were weighing you down, wiping your slate clean, actually doing the thing you always kept tucked in the back of your mind. Trying your hand at a job in a totally different industry. Picking up and moving somewhere new, just for the thrill of the change.

Now, there’s a sense going around that those options are feeling more possible than they ever have before: Covid already blew up our lives. Now, the thinking goes, comes the chance to do it ourselves.

A…


Maybe we can’t fix perfectionism ourselves.

It was the drumbeat of my life, growing up: When I overdid my homework and rewrote notes until my penmanship was perfect, when I practiced pirouettes in the ballet studio until my calves started giving out, when I people-pleased to the point where it was harmful, came the refrain — “you’ll grow out of it.”

From being a people-pleasing kid, to a young adult anxious about failing, to a woman who didn’t comprehend she was allowed to say no, even if it upset someone else, people always told me I’d grow out of the…


“I was a person before I was a mother, before I was a teen mother, before I was the pregnant girl.”

The last time I spoke to Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder of Generation Hope, she told me that student parents, especially those who are teenagers, are a “largely invisible population.” Despite being at the epicenter of intersecting issues, including systemic racism, poverty, classism, and basic needs insecurity, young adults who are juggling school, work, parenting, and growing up are frequently left out of discourse on everything from student debt cancellation to societal perception of what young adulthood holds. Around 12 years ago, when Lewis first got the idea to share her story via a memoir, that’s what the mentality was: Lewis…


What does it mean to plan out our lives in unplannable circumstances?

The last time someone asked me about my five-year plan, I was in an office with too few windows, interviewing for a job that listed one set of responsibilities in the description and a different set in the interviews. I tried not to let it faze me, because the role came with health insurance.

By that point, I’d googled enough examples, filled out enough college applications, and written enough cover letters to be able to succinctly answer t when asked. …


At fifteen, I was staring down losing a career that I’d committed my short life to chasing, choosing ballet barres and bloody blisters across my toes over boys and benchmarks of a high school life well-lived. I was living for the day I’d “get out of here” without pinpointing where on the map of my mind I envisioned myself going.

I didn’t know that not just that career, but the next two, at least, wouldn’t shake out. I didn’t know that all my “somewhere elses” would lead me back home. I didn’t know that one day, my teenage self wouldn’t…


Every month, I’m dropping a little personal reflection here, with some links.

Content warning: This piece makes brief, non-descriptive references to suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression. In case you or anyone you know might need it, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1–800–273-TALK (8255).

A few months ago, I flung confetti of battered-butter chunks and flour across the room thanks to my inability to use a hand mixer, the cat side-eying me from his safe spot under the table. It was an act of giving up and giving in, morphed into a ritual the same way you look up and…


My very favorite belongings are ones that belonged to someone else in my family first: The cutting board my dad and grandfather created from a slab of butcher block. The typewriter that sits on the shelf of my childhood bedroom, a graduation gift my grandmother got before she went to college. Belongings, passed down, can function as illustrations: Of a life, of a self, of a home.

I was mystified by an article from 2015 that made its way across my social media feeds, positing that millennials don’t want furniture or belongings previously owned by their parents, half an example…


Just a month after Kristin Torres, 32, found a new church to attend in Boston, her grandmother, Carmen, died suddenly. Carmen was a devout Catholic herself and in many ways, Torres considered her her best friend. Torres told her new friends at St. Peter’s she would see them in two weeks, after she got back from the funeral. Then, the pandemic hit, and for six months, Torres stayed in her hometown in California.”

But even from across the country, her church group became a lifeline: Many of her church friends were older, in their 60s and 70s, and generous with…


Everything has changed and not enough has.

As I saw posts commemorating the “pandemic year,” I felt myself growing unsettled when it came to reflection. The COVID-19 crisis didn’t begin when it hit the United States, which means a lot of the anniversary acknowledgement seems to leave out the horrors that occurred earlier in other places. It feels premature to reflect; we’re still very much in it. I wasn’t sure how to square any reflection I might have with larger stakes, the ongoing tragedy. …


How do you make friends in your first weeks at college when you don’t know who you can trust?

Since Emily Thompson arrived for her freshman year at Tufts University, she’s been in mandatory quarantine, only leaving her dorm room, which she shares with a roommate, to go to the bathroom or throw out garbage. Their dorm room is next to the hall’s trash can, Emily says, and though they aren’t allowed to leave their door open, “If we’re leaving to go to the bathroom or throw out the trash at the same time, we’ll stop someone in the hall and say, ‘Hey, what’s your Instagram,’ and start DMing if we have common interests.” …

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