Two Kinds of Happy


In one picture, I am twenty-two and way too liberal with my photo filters.

I’m happy that my short hair finally returned to a normal color. I vow to never dye it again. I will break this vow less than a year later.

I’m independent. It feels insanely independent. I have my own apartment without roommates. I already have enough roommate stories. I make crazy slow cooker dishes and plan my meals days in advance. I spend so much time by myself.

I write for school. I write for me. I waste so much time not writing. I blog regularly.

I make friends. Good, life-giving, life-changing friends.

I spend Sundays with my church family. Entire Sundays of lazing and talking and playing miniature golf.

I see Jill three days a week for eight to twelve hours each day, and I start to realize this friendship should have started a year earlier. Katie sleeps over once a week. When she brings the space heater, I know we’ll always be friends.

They convince me to go to the Big Sur Writing Conference over Google Hangout. I agree and start writing my novel in the middle of class: “Did you see that clown?” I finish the masterpiece four weeks later.

The FAC is born and rocks the conference. Big Sur never heard such impassioned renditions of “Roar.” Jill and I blackout for twenty minutes on the way home in what can only be described as a manic episode.

Everything is possible. Everything is happening.

I live next to the ocean, next to friends, and five minutes away from Matthew McConaughey.

In the other photo, I’m twenty-five.

I’m happy that my hair has returned to its normal color. I vow never to dye it again. I will probably bleach it all before my next birthday.

I teach English to high schoolers. I literally get to talk about stories all day long. I bring in things that I love as often as I can. I show them clips of I Love Lucy; I take polls on the likability of Matt Lauer. (I show them clips of Matt Lauer because they’ve never heard of Matt Lauer, which I’m thinking could be the ultimate insult to Matt Lauer. Please let him know.)

I live with my parents. There is always someone around the house. I’m constantly talking. I try to listen.

There is food everywhere. The fridge is always full. I never plan meals, but I occasionally cook when I feel like it. I don’t know where my slow cooker is.

I attend family cookouts. I update people. I get updated. I remember the names of cousins, of second-cousins, and so-on.

I have a Fitbit. I am mildly interested in my step count and completely obsessed with my sleep pattern.

I have nieces who make me laugh. I play Polly Pockets and board games and tickle monster.

I waste so much time not writing. I never blog, but I renew my domain in the hope this will change. I write on the second (and a half) novel and seventh script sporadically. I think of new ideas constantly. I try to find a rhythm. I don’t do it for class. I do it for me.

Not everything is happening, but everything is still possible.

I live next to the woods, with family, and ten minutes away from Gray’s Cafeteria.