I was so in love with Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything, reviewed last week, that after hearing that her most recent novel, The Sun is Also a Star was even better, I knew I needed to read it, and so I did. I gave up shopping for Lent, so instead of purchasing my own copy, I stopped by my local library, nabbed the last book, and began reading almost immediately. After devouring it in less than 24 hours, I was so fatigued, I couldn’t think straight. I was visibly exhausted and took a shower to just kind of meditate and try to reenergize. It didn’t work. Now a full week later, I’m still reeling, still processing, still reflecting. American literary great William Styron once said, “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” Styron must have written this after reading The Sun is Also a Star because this novel was such an incredible, unique, soul-crushing, heartbreaking, draining, and wonderful rollercoaster ride, it left me yearning for more.
During the spring of 2015, I was traveling in Brazil with some of my incredible students, when I started to consider a career change. At that point in my teaching, I’d only been in the game for about two years or so, but I soon realized that what I thought I loved about teaching wasn’t actually teaching, but it was hanging out with kids, getting to know them, listening to them, advising them, and helping them become their best selves. The problem was I wasn’t exactly sure what that would look like career wise. Surely I couldn’t get paid to just hang out with teenagers. That job doesn’t exist, right? Well after talking things over with a few of my closest friends, I learned that it kind of does exist in the form of becoming a counselor, a therapist, a clinical social worker, or a psychologist. But how could I do this? I’d just accepted another job at a new school. I couldn’t just leave that behind. I couldn’t back out. I couldn’t change my mind. It was too late. The thing about discovering and pursuing your purpose, however, is that it’s never too late to make it all come true.
Cheers to the freakin’ weekend, friends! It’s supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow and Sunday, and I can’t wait. The weather has been pretty terrible this week–dreary, rainy, and incredibly windy–so the sunshine that’s bound to happen this weekend will be a wonderful break. Do you have anything fun planned? Comment below! In the meantime, here are a few awesome finds from the week. Enjoy!
I’m a walking paradox, friends. I’m an English teacher who hates reading. Hated reading. Had a love-hate relationship with reading. Let me explain.
I grew up an avid reader and was even teased for carrying a book wherever I went. I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when my love for reading started to dwindle, but I assume it was around college and/or graduate school. The more classes I took, the less time I had. The more technology advanced, the more I depended on it. The more school required me to analyze and analyze, the less I enjoyed reading. Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, says it better than I can. In school, I had to “tie the poem [or any other written work] to a chair with rope/ and torture a confession out of it./ […] beating it with a hose/to find out what it really means.” When I started higher education, reading was no longer a wonderfully enjoyable experience, and with every book I was forced to read for class, I hated it more and more…until now. Thank you, Nicola Yoon.
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! I’ve been thinking a lot about Monday’s post and I already feel so empowered and inspired. I’m trying to do more things I’m passionate about and push myself to keep at it, and so far, so good! In fact, I’m just gonna go ahead and give myself a high five because I have stuck to my fitness goals and worked out every day this week–granted it’s only day three, but you have to start somewhere, right? Now, when I typically engage in some form of fitness, I usually quit not too long after I start because I either feel like I’m going to die, I’m bored, or I’m just plain lazy. Sound familiar? I’ve tried Insanity, Jillian Michaels, Pure Barre, walking, and even had a personal trainer (or two). I eventually realized, however, that I can’t keep wasting my time, money, and energy on things that doesn’t bring me joy. After extensive research and now a heavier pocket (and unfortunately waistline), I’m embarking on a new-ish fitness venture: Zumba.
Happy Tunesday, friends! If you follow the Kermit Says… Snapchat (@kermitsays), then you know I kept yesterday’s word, worked out, and ate relatively well. I’m looking for an accountability buddy to keep me in check, and if you play your cards right, maybe that could be you! In the meantime, I thought today’s Tunesday playlist could serve as the inspiration needed to keep going and achieve my goals regardless of what obstacles come my way. Maybe it will inspire you, too!
Who else is in disbelief that it’s April?! I swear I was just celebrating the new year and creating my vision board. Like most people, I remember starting 2017 off super focused on reaching my goals, and while I’ve met many of them, a few still seem to be a touch out of reach not because I don’t want them, but because I just haven’t been disciplined enough to really go after them. One of these goals is to improve my physical health, which has honestly been what feels like a lifelong battle. But as my mom says, “nothing beats a failure but a try.” In other words, as often as I struggle with my weight and overall health, my persistence and will to keep trying is the only thing that keeps me from failing, at least completely. And because it’s a new month and a Monday, I thought this would be the perfect time to try try again.
Happy, happy Friday, friends! Give yourselves a pat on the back and a warm embrace because you have successfully made it to this week’s finish line. Congratulations to you! For those of you who resumed school on Monday, I’m sure it was especially challenging to get to sleep at a reasonable hour and wake up early and alert for class. For those of you still on or just starting your Spring Break, enjoy it! Our break ended on Monday, but I’ve been chaperoning a class retreat since Wednesday, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds: I’m in school, but not. Regardless of where you find yourselves on the spectrum, take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and check out some of these incredible finds from the week.
While driving into work yesterday morning, I was listening to Chicago’s KISSFM with Fred and Angie–per usual–and they were playing a game where callers in their early 20s phoned in and tried to name 1980s and 1990s sitcom theme songs. As I listened to these “youngsters” try and fail to name these tunes, I couldn’t help but realize a few things: 1) Since I’m at the end of my 20s, I guess I’m now old; 2) Since I could name every single tune, I guess I’m now old; and 3) Since I refer to the 1980s and 1990s as the “good old days,” I guess I’m now old. I’ve never really thought about my age, at least not negatively, but since turning 29 a few weeks ago, I have been feeling pretty nostalgic lately, especially when it comes to high school.
“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re 17 and planning for someday, and then quietly, and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”- Nathan Scott, One Tree Hill
When I was a sophomore in high school, the WB (now CW) premiered it’s latest teen classic One Tree Hill, and I was obsessed! I would rush to complete my assignments so I wouldn’t miss an episode. Basketball, brothers, complicated relationships, and incredible music? What more could a high schooler want? In the series’ nine years, they played nearly 2,000 songs (wow)! In fact, a Buzzfeed article reports that “music was such a huge part of One Tree Hill that the fictional club Tric was written into the show in Season 2 so the writers could feature more bands and artists.” Each carefully selected and meaningful tune appealed to teenagers turned adults because the songs and episodes examined real issues, captured the essence of teenage and eventually adulthood, and encouraged us to just be our true, authentic selves. I grew up with One Tree Hill, and while each episode isn’t quite as fresh as it is for those youngsters now binge-watching it on Netflix, the songs themselves have stayed with me, and for that, I am grateful. Be still, my emo, angsty, teenage heart. Here are a few of my favorites from the series:
Being honest with yourself is, to me, probably one of the most difficult yet important things one could ever do. When we meet certain people or encounter certain situations, we get a small feeling in the pit of our stomachs. That’s called intuition. Sometimes we listen to those instincts and other times we choose to ignore them altogether. Perhaps we get a bad vibe about someone we like but choose to dismiss those warning signs because we’re curious or lonely. Maybe it’s because we want to keep up appearances, and following our gut will change the way people perceive us. Maybe it will even change the way we see ourselves. Trusting our instincts oftentimes forces us to recognize what is so easily overlooked and challenges us to not only be honest with ourselves, but also to make some tough decisions that we think we might not be ready to make. The thing about listening to your gut, however, is that it’s always right and will never steer you wrong.