Adulting Is Hard: Your Love Life’s DOA

*10-21-17 edit: Check under the cut and down at the bottom for an update on laying the groundwork went*

Dear Best Friend,

Usually, I’m Monica from Friends: I’m the mom-friend; I like things organised (although not quite to Monica’s degree); I wash dishes to de-stress; I’m unlucky in love; I love to cook and bake and play hostess; I’m overqualified and under-appreciated in my chosen career; I have a rocky relationship with my mother, who likes my siblings more than me; I have self-esteem issues.

If I’m honest, over the last year or so, I thought maybe – just maybe, buried deep in the bottom of my heart and stuck in a tiny box in the back of my mind – you’d end up being my Chandler.

Turns out I’m early-season-5 Rachel to your hastily-married-to-a-random-British-woman Ross. Read More »

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Adulting Is Hard: Reflecting on a Year in the Classroom

Dear Best Friend,

You’ve been with me this year as I took on one of the most challenging jobs I’ve done thus far in my young career. Well, I say ‘you were there’ but since you’re thousands of miles away, all of the successes and failures and tears were communicated via WhatsApp texts and Messenger calls. So thanks for that. For being my cheerleader and sounding board and biggest fan and necessary hardest critic. As usual. Your unending support allowed me to give 110% to my students this year, even when I thought I was doing a terrible job.

My contract is officially up today. I re-signed it to do another year, so this post might not be as emotional as it could be. Next year I’m sure it will be. But for now, it’s time to reflect on 11 months in the classroom as an intensive literacy tutor/teacher.

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Dear Mr Potter…

 

Mr and Mrs Vernon Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. 

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first Bloomsbury publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK. (The US had to wait until Scholastic published it in September of 1998. I read it that year.)

I couldn’t have known it then, but when Dad started reading it aloud to me and my sister in 1998, he set up a path that we continue to walk down, individually and as a family. Read More »

“This is what democracy looks like…”

To my best friend,

We heard that above quote chanted a lot today.

It seems to be easiest to address these posts as if I am writing directly to someone, so in this case, as in most cases, I’m writing to you.

I participated in the Women’s March on Washington today. In the flagship city. I and about 1.1 million of my closest friends streamed into the National Mall area of Washington, DC starting early this morning — 21 January 2017.

I am noting the date because it’s important. It’ll go down in history. It already has.wmw-3
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Adulting Is Hard: One Year On

The great Jonathan Larson wrote in “Seasons of Love” (from the musical Rent):

How do you measure – measure a year?
In daylights – in sunsets
In midnights – in cups of coffee
In inches – in miles
In laughter – in strife
…How do you measure a year in the life?

I’ve measured the last year in all of these.

It’s been exactly a year since I graduated from Durham University…it’s been bittersweet to see the pictures pop up on that “On This Day” thing on Facebook. Read More »

This One’s For the Boys

My family moved house to a new place around the corner from my elementary school when I was about 11. The surrounding neighbourhood is definitely a bit dodgy, but our street in particular has always been friendly and relatively safe. My pre-teen and teenage years were spent with three other families, all of whom had children around my and my sisters’ ages. We were — and remain, in some ways, despite most of the kids scattered around the country and indeed the world at times — closer and more tightly-knit than many blood-related families. It’s hard to describe all the benefits and value this environment brought to my life and continues to do so.

Last night we continued our decade-old tradition of Christmas tree hunting and dinner. After we found our trees and took the obligatory group pictures, we went to our favourite NY-style pizza place in our hometown and just…sat there for two hours, chatting and eating and laughing. I ended up sitting next to and across from three of my male “cousins” (all of whom are around my age) and was struck by how lucky I was to have these men in my life. Not just these specific three, but all of the boys and men from my family.

Of course it hasn’t always been a picnic, growing up with these guys. Middle and high school were fraught with petty fights and competitive arguments and emotional upheavals and ridiculous drama. Like all families, we didn’t get along all the time. (Us girls had our issues too. But that’s not the point of this post.)

But oh, these guys.

I hold up the men I befriend or date to the standards that my cousins have set. Can you hold your own in a debate with me? Do you like at least one sport? Do you care a bit about your appearance? Are you respectful and open-minded? Can you make me laugh until my sides hurt? Are you kind to your family? Are you supportive of your friends, as much as you are able? Do you give good hugs?

All my closest male friends meet these standards. They have to, otherwise I wouldn’t be friends with them. Unfortunately, none of the men I have dated in the last couple of years — dated very infrequently, admittedly — have measured up. Which is a big reason none of them have lasted beyond a couple of dates or a hookup.

I realised I’ve been doing this just in the last couple of years. I’m not sorry for it.

Frankly, my standards keep me sane. I don’t have time to deal with bullshit that immature men — or women — are prone to throwing around. You want to be in my life? Fine. Meet these basic expectations. I promise I give as good as I get.

Phillip, Robert, Isaiah, Jared, Elijah, and Ben…

Thank you for being the boys you were and the men you’ve become. Thank you for setting the bar so high. I will always be better for having you.

 

Small Ways to Say ‘I Love You’

In light of the recent seismic event that has gripped my country — one whose aftershocks will be felt for at least four years, if not more — I started thinking about this post. Because I (and a lot of other people around the world) need to remember that, ultimately, we control our reactions to what happens to us. And we can choose to respond with hate or with love.

Tonight, I’m choosing love. So here are some small ways to say ‘I love you’.Read More »