Life’s Too Short to Save Soap

Sometimes, I’m a hoarder.

Moving has unearthed all the little things I’ve collected for memory’s sake: soaps from places I’ve stayed at (I was convinced in the power of olfactory memory, but unfortunately time has made that one soap from Italy and the other from Cambridge smell pretty much the same to me), notes from junior year of high school, old photos, and tons & tons of books.

What am I saving things for? What’s the point?

Life is so very short and precious. I hope this never becomes a stale sentiment to me, for the reminders of this fact tend to be brutal and lachrymose. A young death, a family tragedy, a crippling disability–all tend to illuminate this fact.

I want to start really living. We cannot anticipate nostalgia, so why relegate entire sections of our lives to a “story” that may or may not happen? That’s a half-life full of cautiously walking on eggshells and perfectly arranging the subconscious parameters of your personality & behavior to modify how you would like your “story” to turn out.

All this time I was misinterpreting the Donald Miller-ian ” live like your life is a story you’d want to read” idea to be void of unforeseen circumstances, but rather a paradigm that guaranteed the colorful, adventurous life good stories are made from.

But no.

Sometimes, (pardon my French) shit happens. I did not plan to break my foot (and possibly be limited in certain mobility for a very long time, an altogether terrifying idea). I did not plan to move to Pennsylvania. I did not plan to be living with my family.

One must live NOW. I cannot live a half-life until my circumstances improve & expect everything to magically become perfect then.

I guess what I’m attempting to say is this: Use those old soaps from hotels, pursue that dream that makes you happy, talk to that person who you secretly love, travel, run a half-marathon. Do these things now, because there is no guarantee the same opportunities will wait for you.

[tl;dr Don’t anticipate nostalgia. Go live.]

The “North,” as told by me


Stray observations:

(Tangential Note: You might be wondering, Why did she just put the location in quotations? Pennsylvania is definitely located the North. Yes. A+ in US Geography for you. I don’t really care about the big “North versus South” culture battle. I’ve lived in the South my entire life, but I don’t identify as “Southern” (minus an occasional affected accent when I want to seem whimsically charming) and I think that’s because I’ve experienced so many unique cultures (read: moved around a lot)–I seriously doubt that a location defines who you are. If a person is solely defined by their zip code, one might be encouraged to get out more. The North is different than the South. The South is different than the North. One is not better than the other.)

  • Everyone is Italian: I’ve never met or seen so many Italian people (and I’ve been to Italy!) Similarly, do you want to eat something not Italian? Nope. Italian, it’s the only thing what’s for dinner (at every restaurant). The Italian chefs have aggrandized a food monopoly here and they are not apologizing about it. People literally fight over which restaurant has the best perogies (which are like dumplings filled with potatoes & cheese?) and wedding soup. Luckily, I love everything Italian.
  • Another mystery: popular food is generally extremely unhealthy (cream based everything), but yet, Pennsylvania is (only) the 16th fattest state. People eat tons of Italian food and yet remain healthy? What’s the secret here?
  • If you’re going out to the store, there is no need to wear something tawdry like pants or blouses. No, just put on your Pittsburgh Steelers black & gold leather jacket and your roomiest Hanes sweatpants & hop out the door! Sports gear 4 lyfe.
  • There is a tacit agreement in the city of Pittsburgh if you do not like sports (I’m talking to you, hockey), you deserve death. And you cannot waver on your favorite teams: if they are not from Pittsburgh, you are hereby banned to Philadelphia.
  • I’ve met a lot of people with monosyllabic names (as if having more than one is just too flashy): Tom, Tim, Dave, Steve, Joe, Bob,  Mike, Sue, Barb. When I’m older, I’ll probably be that diva old person who refuses to call young people by the shortened version of their name. I’d rather be taciturn than call someone ‘Steve’ (and that’s my uncle’s name so, talk about internal struggle.)
  • The SNOW IS INSANE. Everyone who is freaking out over the cold temperatures in the South needs to come live in the Northeast for a week. Here’s a dramatization: You step outside and realize that the 45 layers you have on are not enough, as wind scratches its talons into your very soul, scraping away any trace of human kindness or humanity in your heart. You are suddenly in a bad mood and drive very fast all the time, as you must hurry before MORE snow falls down & will inevitably turn you into a human snowman.
  • Also every time I try spelling “Pennsylvania,” I think I’m doing it wrong. So many consonants.

Those are my main observations thus far. It’s kind of like studying a different culture in some ways. There are different accents, dialects, trends, styles. I don’t really feel like I fit in here, truth be told. It’s not like I have a turgid view of myself, but I honestly feel like I stick out here because of my interests & goals. Maybe I’ll find my niche!

What Are Your 2014 Social Media Resolutions?

ImageOn New Year’s Eve, I reinstated my months forgotten Instagram, determined to rekindle the flame of photo sharing love that once burned so brightly in my app folder. …One week later, aka today, I deleted it permanently. I just wasn’t feeling Instagram anymore. Why contribute half-heartedly to a big void when you can concentrate on something you actually care about? 

With this in mind, I just have two resolutions:

1. Use my damn time wisely. 

2014 is a year of total unknown for me. My calendar is as empty as my head as I scramble to finish this simile–I have NO idea what I’m doing in any part of the year, minus a few weddings & up in the air travel plans. I choose to see this as a positive–oh the possibilities, etc. Anyone can their time…but when you’re spending your damn time wisely, you better do it right. So, I’m not wasting my 2014 on platforms, campaigns, and fake relationships I don’t really care about. Intentionality is my word of 2014.

2. Stop using the ubiquitous “haha” as a writing crutch.

It’s unnecessary, weak writing, and passive (not to mention lameeeee.) And honestly, rather lazy of me.

What are your goals for social media this year?

Looking again at 2013 (for posterity)

I spent most of yesterday reflecting on 2013 and rereading old journals (the best books I own haha)–to be honest, the more I revisited my year, the more the beautiful parts shone through the murky ones. 

2013 was insane! I…

-Got lost in the Versailles palace gardens

-Literally chilled in a Prague ice bar

-Snuck into Mozart’s house in Salzburg 

-Sang Sound of Music songs while driving through the Austrian hills

-Got a tattoo in a British shop called Tattoos by Fabio

-Witnessed a Philadelphian drug protest at 4:20 pm 

-Almost lost my driver’s license (whoops)

-Was an extra on “Nashville”

-Danced my heart out at British clubs

- Fell in love with several cities

-Survived a PLANE CRASH (this is for real)

- Broke my foot running/dancing up the stairs to go tweet about puppies

-Got published twice!

-Experienced the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg…on my 22nd birthday

-Made new friends all over the world!

So, I suppose in hindsight… 2013 was actually pretty great.