That time I “met” John Green

 

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Two weeks ago, I almost moved back to Indiana.

One Saturday morning, I broke down. While crying in the shower I kept thinking of how little time I have to write, how many dreams are out of reach, and how much I miss my family. Then, as my tears soaked into my shaving cream, I had an idea. A brilliant epiphany!

I would go home.

It was obvious, really. Don’t I belong in Indiana?

Isn’t it a part of my soul? Have you seen me shuck corn?

I mean, I was one of the few kids in high school who didn’t go on and on about wanting to leave our town. (I think this is the main talk for high school kids everywhere, but kids who live in LA, you’re not fooling us. Stop acting like you can pull off the leave-this-small-town-in-the-rear-view thing.)

Twenty minutes after this epiphany my plan was underway. I prayed about it for at least 100 seconds. Obviously, I had carefully considered every scenario.

I told my family I was coming home. I don’t think they believed me, something about taking time to think about it. I don’t know. Whatever.

My dad was impressed that I felt the same way the next day; he told me he’d fly out and help drive me back.

Back. Back to Indiana. Indiana here I come.

But…

In the grocery store a few days later, I had another epiphany. You see, that whole week I had been pleading with God. I said, “Okay, God, I don’t need the whole picture, but if you want to give it, go ahead. That would be great. But just this next step. What am I supposed to do now? Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Especially if it’s Indiana. I’m pretty sure it’s Indiana. Tell me if it’s not Indiana because I’m going home now because you won’t tell me what to do and we’re done talking but I trust you and I’ll trust you in Indiana. Okay? Amen.”

In the canned items aisle, when I quieted down for 2.5 seconds and you know, listened, God was like, “My sweet child, I’ve told you. I told you.” And then I was flooded with memories. Like, cue the Rom Com montage of wiping éclair cream off noses and holding hands in front of sunsets and riding bikes with ridiculously huge baskets. Like, cue all the times I knew I was supposed to go to California. Cue the times I trusted that I would be a writer and looking out my window at the huge oak and believing that if it could do its best to reach the sky, so could I.

Yes. I cried in that grocery store.

Yes. I cry during predictable romantic comedies. (Sorry.) (I’m not that sorry.)

I called my mom: “I’m staying here. Don’t let me leave. Don’t help me leave. I’m not happy about it, but I’m staying here because, you know, God’s plan.”

Mom: “Okay.”

Me: “Uuuuuuugh. Mom! I’m staying! Hello.”

Mom: “Okay?”

Me: “I want to come home.”

Mom: “…”

Me: “… Fine! I won’t! I’m staying!”

I spent the night not quite ready to think about what staying means. The next day, I stood on the noble ground of not quitting; even if I’m not moving forward, there’s something to be said for simply not letting go. The day after was a Friday, so already things were much brighter. (I also bought a ten-pound bag of chicken breasts from Costco, so again, things were much brighter.) (Ten pounds of chicken for one person.) (I’ll probably post pictures of my Mark Wahlberg guns next. Nbd.)

And then, it was as if I slowly came back.

I made a thanksgiving list. That list was full of answered prayers, future dreams, and so many good people. That list made me realize that maybe my life isn’t so bad.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still in the dumps about a lot of stuff, but my ultimate, bottom line was that it’s going to be okay. I’m going to get through my job. There’s a reason I’m here.

And then John Green came into the picture.

I’ve applied to jobs at DFTBA a few times because well, we know how I feel about John Green as a Hoosier, an Indy Car fan, and an author. I was never expecting to hear back, but on Wednesday I got an email from his personal assistant asking me to chat on Skype.

I went all “hettawhattapersonalassistant she talks to me?” And she was all “I want to talk to you too, but you’re actually speaking to John.”

And I was all “Holy s***!” Arms flailed. Legs buckled.

I heaved myself off of the floor (of my cubicle), and as the tears and mucus cascaded over the curves of my smile, I was filled with thanksgiving once more.

I’d like to say a lot of this thanksgiving had to do with John Green (and it did), but most of it had nothing to do with John Green. It was more about every step that had led me to that point. It was about every chance taken, every step of faith, and the people I know and love.

My interview with John Green was ten minutes long, and they weren’t earth-shattering minutes. I made him laugh twice (once intentionally). I didn’t say anything groundbreaking. (If we’re being honest, neither did he.)

But I got to speak to one of my favorite authors. Just him and me.

He said some nice things. I said some okay things. We said goodbye. And I realized: things can change in a freaking instant.

I realized how much I love my life. Today. I realized how much God’s doing and will do. I realized that when God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” He’s not condemning me to his will; He’s saying, “hey, you! You want a life that’s BETTER than you could ever hope for? Good, follow me.”

And I realized I belong here. I don’t mean in California (though right now, that’s where). I don’t mean in this job (though right now, that’s where). I mean, I belong right in this sweet spot of thanksgiving. I belong waking up early to write and lingering at Sunday brunch and sending happy texts and crying in the grocery store over and over and over until I get that this, right here, is it. This is joyful. This is peaceful. This is where a greater-than-I-could-imagine life happens. I belong right here, and I’m not leaving. No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I’m not leaving this spot.

Phone Camera Memories

A month ago my phone did the thing we all fear: it told me that there wasn’t enough storage space to take pictures.

And then I decided I didn’t really need to send a picture of my dinner to my mom.

It was disastrous (1) because my phone is my main camera and (2) because my momma will never know the beauty of my over easy eggs.

It was up to me to do the unthinkable. On a Friday night–the only appropriate night for this sort of thing–I was left to delete pictures from my phone. (I’m stuck in the past tense, but just so we’re clear, I waited until tonight to delete them. Procrastination alert!)

And you know what?

There are some really great pictures on here. I’m not saying I’m Cindy Sherman. (I always go with Cindy Sherman in a photography conversation. I have a very limited scope; there’s Cindy Sherman, Ansel Adams, and that woman who takes adorable pictures of babies in things. See? Limited.)

But these pictures show some really good times. I’m reminded of what a wonderful life this is and also that I’m not immune to poor choices.

 

Jill. A zebra farm. Wicked soundtrack. Four hours until we change in a parking lot and Jill curls her hair in the hallway.

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This is a blurry picture of Kevin Costner. I swear.

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This is a blurry picture of two ladies I’m blessed to know. I swear.
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Sometimes growing out your hair has its bumps, speed bumps on the highway that throw your car down the ditch.

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Pepperdine at night can kind of make you feel like a Disney princess (with rabies).

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I climbed this rock and sat on it, and my Italian Rachel just happened to snap a picture at the right time. (She also took about fourteen failed versions, but details.)

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Oh, and the dog pictures, but I’m keeping those on the phone.

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Maybe I’ll keep them all because my heart’s memory is bigger than an iPhone’s or something really meaningful that I’m too tired to articulate because it’s 9:30 on a Friday and I should be in bed.

SoCal is Ron Weasley

Sometimes I feel really out of place in Southern California.

For a person who enjoys mornings and hot chocolate and orange leaves and soup, Southern California with its afternoon glow and Kombucha and sand can be difficult. Not in the way calculus or international trading agreements are difficult, but more in the way picking onions out of a burrito is difficult. And the sun. So much sun. Every day the sun is there, reminding me that I can’t be anything but happy. 

Even the sun is pressuring me!

I went from Southern California to a personified sun. The blog horse is running away again. Excuse me while I pull on those reigns. Neigh! Pull!

SoCal is a delight to many, and I get it. What’s not to love? But since moving here, loving SoCal has felt like cheating on Indiana.

Take the kindest, sweetest boy who wouldn’t kiss you on the first date because of he’s embarrassed by his sweaty lips; that’s Indiana. Falling in love with SoCal would be like leaving the boy and running away with People‘s “Sexiest Man Alive,” circa 1989, 1998, or 2005. Neigh! Pull!

Back to my point: it’s just not fair or nice, and it’s so… predictable. 

And so I’ve never loved California fully. Always one foot on the ground.  

But is it possible to love two places for different reasons? (To be clear, I’m asking this strictly about places. Please don’t run off on your sweet or even semi-aggrivating significant other, even if he does have sweaty lips.)

Like, am I allowed to love California for showing off days like this? 

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And this?

 

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And this?

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May I love it for its ridiculous traffic and unpredictable acts of nature, 

while still adoring Indiana for its autumn and small towns and Walmart? (Walmart is different in Indiana. Trust me.)

I think so. I hope so. I long for my Indiana home, but I’m learning to love California. It’s that slow friendship love that sneaks up on you like wet socks. (I only realize my socks are wet when I stop moving.) I think I can love California like Hermione loves Ron. 

But I’ll always love Indiana like Hermione loves Dobby. Maybe Dobby didn’t appear to be such a star to anyone until after he died, but Hermione saw the potential there. I’m not saying anything would have happened between them, but… you never know. I feel better about that scenario than Hermione/Harry. 

Neigh! Run free! Blog Horse is free.

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HP Images 1&2.

 

Sad Friday Night Texts

It took me seven seconds to find the “Add New Post” button. Seven seconds! That’s the amount of time it takes to craft a decent tweet.

(This is a lie, of course. What a blessed moment it is when a decent tweet takes only seven seconds.)

Oh, gosh. Two paragraphs in, and I’m already qualifying every word I say. I should have started with “Hello! My name is Hilly, in case you forgot, and I write the saddest Friday night texts.”

I’ve never been a big Friday person. I’ve never been a party person. Even low-key activities aren’t my jam. I mean, they are, but they should be saved for a night when you aren’t walking like a torso connected to two partially-drained Gusher tubes. (That was my attempt at saying “tired” without actually saying it. How’d I do?)

At home, on a Friday night, even though I don’t want to be (and sometimes decline to be) other places, can get a little lonely. It’s not that I feel lonely, but somehow the most Josie Geller of texts are sent from my phone. You’d think I was finishing my fifteenth needlepoint pillow. (Actually, I’m crocheting and organizing my closet, thank you very much.)

Fine! Fine! I’ll show you the evidence. Quiet down, already.

These are five kinds of texts you might get from me on a Friday night:

 

1. Netflix updates:
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2. Slob clothing purchases:

 

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Lots of “also” going on here.

3. Million dollar ideas:

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Jill and Katie often get the brunt of my sad Friday texts.

4. Kirk Cameron news (a subcategory of “Netflix updates”):

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Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.29.21 PMI’d like to think I deserve a spot in Gryffindor for admitting to four Kirk Cameron movies in one week.

5. Options for the night’s activities:

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First Day of Work…

I have an entire cubicle?!

It’s been so long since I’ve used a desktop. Where’s the exposé button?

Do I need reading glasses?

This is the best chair in the world!

Why is this a big kid job? Because I don’t have to ask to use the restroom.

The interns look happy here. I don’t understand.

Was the Harry Potter joke too soon? If not, when do the practical jokes start? I’m ready to put some staplers in jello.

This is the worst chair in the world!

Health insurance. Wow!

Let’s be clear. Had I known the company was paying for lunch, water wouldn’t have been my beverage of choice.

*Finds chair lever.* WRONG LEVER! Ah, remember (being unemployed) when I could just watch Emperor’s New Groove anytime I wanted?

I wonder if my brain will turn to mush in the corporate world.

Everyone’s so nice. I like nice people. They’re nice.

I might leave my voicemail as is. Who needs to know that I’m not “Joseph Kim.” (I changed the name, but you get the idea.)

This is an okay chair in the world!

Sea Glass at Last

I have good news, but first…

I’m unemployed. I don’t where I’ll be living in August. My hair has been perpetually in an “awkward phase” for two years. (I continue to blame the stylist I visited in June 2012.) Sometimes when I call my family, they don’t answer because they claim to be “at work” during the day. Ha! My right arm is kind of sore. I think I slept on it wrong.

This was the way I was thinking about my life a month ago. I was a complainer.

Then, I kind of sort of a bit realized that maybe my life is pretty much almost practically… awesome.

I’m finishing my master’s degree at 23. I have a bright, cheery apartment for at least the next two months. I have hair. I have an incredible family full of goofballs who leave silly voicemails. God has a crazy good plan for my life, and my right arm bends and looks good doing it.

This is the way I’m choosing to think today. I have an astounding amount of blessings, and I’m so grateful for this life.

Where was I going with this? Ah, good news! The thing about good news is that it needs to be recognized.

There are some writers who think of story ideas constantly. I used to think they were crazy, but then I made a conscious effort to hold onto the ideas passing through my head somewhere between “my arm hurts” and “is this milk okay to drink?” Over time (and it’s still a working progress), I trained my brain to recognize an idea as it passes. Although I’m not to the constant-idea machine level, I am much better.

The same is true with good news. A month ago, the good stuff was hidden under a smog of life and frustrations, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I just had to clear that other stuff out. I needed to train (and am still training) my brain to recognize the amazingly good things in my life.

I had a bit of good news yesterday, but I almost didn’t recognize it; I found my first piece of sea glass.

(I know I’m jumping around a lot. Welcome to my world.)

I won’t say that I’ve been looking for a piece of sea glass my whole life, but ten years sounds about right. Maybe you’re thinking that if I really wanted to find a piece of sea glass, I would have scoured every beach and found one in a week. I live next to the ocean, for crying out loud! Well, maybe you geography nerds out there might realize that it was a bit hard to find a beach with sea glass in my previous location of Indiana. (After 90 seconds of research, it has come to my attention that apparently you can find sea glass at Lake Michigan. I apologize for the snark.)

But, guys, I haven’t been obsessing over sea glass. Who do you think I am? [Insert famous sea glass artist here]?!

It’s been more of a casual pursuit. On vacations I would look, and now that I live close to the ocean, I half-heartedly scan the shore as I walk. Then, yesterday, my brother and I were looking for cool rocks (because we’re cool like that).

Rhett at beach

Did someone say RFK?

(I realize that JFK is usually considered to be the better style icon, and therefore some might feel that he is the one to reference here, but since I have an unexplained preference for RFK (I think it’s the teeth), I chose him because it is my blog. Thank you.)

PS We found some really cool rocks (because we’re cool like that). Look at these things.

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Then, I picked what I thought was a frosty, white rock out of the sand. Rhett said, “Hey, sea glass,” in a chain-smoker’s voice (read: Mama Fratelli).

(Note: Rhett doesn’t smoke or have a chain-smoker voice, but this is my story.)

I took another look at the vaguely triangular object in my hand. Could it be? After years of searching, could I have actually… not even recognized that I had sea glass in my hand?! Yes. Yes, it was. Yes, I didn’t get it. Yes, I’m entirely too thankful to have a brother who’s better at identifying tidal leftovers than I am.

I have my sea glass at last, and you know what? I’m not exactly sure what life lesson to draw from finding it.

But since writing the sentence right before this one, I’ve had a thought. It’s been really fun looking for sea glass for the past decade. The beach is a pretty amazing place. It was a lot of fun finding sea glass yesterday. It will probably continue to be a lot of fun finding the next piece and the one after that and the one after that. Life is full of beautiful pieces of sea glass, and sometimes the piece I want is right in the palm of my hand. I just have to recognize it.

 

I apologize for the number of parentheticals in this post. (Seriously.)

 

Ardmore Returns

Me: Ardmore?

Ardmore: Yes?

Me: I’m scared.

Ardmore: We’ve already talked through this. The toilet seat will not cut you again.

Me: You don’t know that! But that’s not actually what I was talking about. I’m scared to go back to blogging. It’s been a long time, bordering on unacceptable.

Ardmore: Why haven’t you been blogging?

Me: I’ve been busy.

Ardmore: I’ve been busier.

Me: What? How can that be?

Ardmore: It takes a lot of maintenance work to retain a place in your head.

Me: Is that a slam?

Ardmore: No one uses “slam” any more.

Me: Did they ever?

Ardmore: Did you just slam yourself?

Me: Touché.

Ardmore: Hilary, don’t you think the best way to get back into blogging is just to begin?

Me: I was actually thinking the best way would be not starting.

Ardmore: I’m sorry. Was that a joke?

Me: You’re not my favorite person.

Ardmore: I’m not a person.

Me: No. You’re more like a friend.

Ardmore: Hilary, let’s not blur the person/secondary-personality line here.

Me: Fair enough, Ardy. Fair enough.

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Ch-Ch-Changes

 

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(Estelle Getty would like to thank Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for their consideration.)

I don’t like change. Well, sort of.

“Let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.”

Two weeks ago today I finished the last class of my Master’s. The second year kids went out after, and as I looked out on the basket of chips, I realized I don’t want to move on from this. I don’t want to move on from this place, these people, and those chips.

I’ve had a really wonderful last year of grad school. The first was dramatically less wonderful. The chips were always wonderful.

Why did it all go by so fast? What’s going to happen next? How do they make those chips?

I resist almost all forms of change. It’s a bit of a habit.

A week before I left for college my mom said, “You know, you could stay here and go to [local school] for a couple of years.” It wasn’t an unreasonable thing to say. I was following her around the house for weeks, as I claimed to be storing up “bonding time” before I left for a the great big world of college (45 minutes away).

My first year of college was an epic disaster. I made approximately two friends. The way I bonded with said friends was over a game of Scene It? Twilight Edition. (For real.) I also ate peanut butter straight from the jar and watched five seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. When summer came, I was left to see that I had fallen very far from the bright girl who graduated from high school a year earlier. (That’s very dramatic. Let me be clear, that I was still a lovable nerd, but I was hidden under acne and sweatpants.)

The next year I tried really hard to make friends and to eat peanut butter from the jar only on special occassions. I even forced myself to say hello to all the people in my dorm. (Technically, that was my job as a RA.)

Forcing social interactions allowed me to meet good friends. It allowed me to fall in love with college. It wasn’t love at first sight, but sometimes that slow friendship kind of love can be more powerful. And then, I had to leave.

The move to Cali went slightly better than college. No enormous weight gains were had. No severe Grey’s Anatomy stupors were entered. I watched Vampire Diaries instead. (Concerned about my TV choices? Me too.)

And then California got better. It turns out it’s pretty easy to fall in love with 27 miles of coastal beauty, constant sunshine, and friends who share nachos.

Now it’s almost over, and I have to start over again.

I love that opportunity. Starting over means possibility and personal growth. It means finding new favorite bookstores and their forgotten corners. It means new challenges and a new furniture arrangement. Maybe this time I’ll invest in accent pillows! Maybe I’ll have an oven! Maybe I’ll get to park my car at the apartment!

Starting over also means patches of loneliness. It means not knowing where the closest Costco is (for hotdog purposes, obviously).

It means limiting the number of phone calls I make to my family per day.

It means forcing myself to interact with strangers in the desperate hope that some of them could be friends.

I don’t like that plan. I like the people I talk to. I like having conversations that are little shortbread cookies of pleasure in my day. I like laughing without people commenting on how my nose scrunches. (Friends don’t care about nose scrunching.)

It’s funny how sometimes we don’t get what we like. (Though, I would really, really like the throw pillows.)

I talked about being an RA earlier in this post. I can’t say that I was overcome with happiness when I got the position, but I am now overcome with gratitude for that position. It made college for me. It was nothing like the experience I would have imagined for myself. It wasn’t anything I wanted, but it was what I needed.

It’s funny how sometimes we get just what we need. (Throw pillows and good chips are a need. Right?)

I’m counting on that. I’m trusting that I’m going to be led exactly where I need to be. Sure, this next step might not be a step into perfect land. There might be some straight-from-the-jar nights, but maybe this time I’ll upgrade to cookie spread. Maybe this time I’ll binge on Mad Men. Maybe this time I’ll “have fun storming the castle.” Okay, that didn’t make a lot of sense, but I had to bring The Princess Bride back in somehow.

I’m A Major Creep

Some people have useful talents, like the ability to look natural walking in heels or applying lipstick without wondering exactly where the bottom lip ends.

I have a useful talent as well. Some call it internet stalking; I call it embarrassment-feuled creeping.

I’ve always had a tendency for obsession, so in the modern age where I can scour the internet looking for the ex-wife of a semi-famous novelist to figure out what went wrong, I do.

And usually I don’t see much wrong with this. However, when I stumble on a piece of information (still in the public-sphere) that’s particularly juicy, I realize I may have taken things too far.

Jill recently read a book by an author that is one half of a marriage that she, Katie, and I had a serious crush on. You know those Instagram masters who make their lives look like a live-action Candyland? Yeah, this couple is like that. Was like that. *silent tears*

Jill noticed that in the dedications of the first book, there was a woman’s name, a name that did not belong to the author’s wife.

Jill was frantic, understandably so. She did a little preliminary research. No need to get us all up in arms  if it was his wife’s nickname. It was wishful thinking. For the sake of the example, let’s say the book said “to Sophie” while the wife’s name is “Aishwarya.” There was just no way. 

So Jill discovered what we all feared: the man who was one half of the cutest relationship in the world* had been married before! *by Instagram standards

Not only had he been married before, but by book two, he was dedicating his work to the other half of the cutest couple in the world. (I’ll stop with the titles.)

BOOK #1 OF A TRILOGY IS FOR WIFE #1, AND BY BOOK #2, HE’S ON SOMEONE ELSE?!?!

Jill let us know of this tragedy: “I feel like I just found out Mr. Darcy was married when he met Elizabeth.” I, of course, told her to take it back immediately because how dare she ever utter such blasphemy!

And after I was finished partially recovering from the thought that Darcy was anything other than the socially-awkward hottie of every intelligent woman’s dreams, I began to creep.

I mean, so many questions needed to be answered! How much time between relationships was there? Did he leave one wife after he became semi-well-known to book loving twenty-somethings? Did he just go around seducing nice girls and taking them as his concubines? I told Jill, “WE WILL NOT BE HIS NEXT CONQUESTS!”

I took action. After some heavy research, like finding an art show in college where his then-girlfriend was a subject, I creeped on his ex-wife. I was relieved to find that she was in a relationship with another man, and according to Facebook, her father still “liked” the author’s first book.

It was here that I realized I was in very deep and needed to pull out. I mean, it’s not like I’m engaging in illegal activity, but the fact that I have to make that clear indicates I went a bit too far.

But it’s not all so superficial. Sometimes creeping has saved me a lot of trouble. Once, Jill and I saw a cute librarian. With twenty minutes and his first name, I discovered a picture of him on his trip to the Carribean that made us both disgusted. Now, when he says hello, I give him a look that says, “I know what you did Spring Break of 2012.”

Maybe I’m good because I’m hyper-observant. Like, I’m really good at spotting celebrities, and even those who aren’t full-on celebrities. Please see Jill and I’s encounter with a Mad Men guest star, or know that just today I refrained from telling a man that I admired his work in Bride and Prejudice (because obviously I’ve memorized every person in every Austen adaptation ever).

Celebrity sighting and internet creeping are related. Jill says so: “One’s a tangerine. The other, an orange.”

Just know that a P.I. career could be in my future. I have been watching a lot of Veronica Mars lately.

Oh, and here’s a picture of my most recent fun purchase. I feel it’s appropriate for this post with so much Darcy talk.

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Bikes & Co.

Today was not a great day.

Today, I screamed in my car twice.

I went to the bank three times.

I wished I could have a do-over about 400 times.

Today was supposed to be the day when I went on a run, finished two novels, made my entire apartment shine, read three books, and solved world issues. (This is how informed I am. I say, “world issues.”)

Okay, so I had high expectations, but by noon, I was left with the first four sentence of this blog post.

Maybe today was bad because a lot of emotional, big changes are coming my way. I have a hard time with change. It can be fun and adventurous and what life’s all about, but it is also really, really hard.

Next week, classes are over. In June, I will graduate, and then it’s…

I have no idea.

I could go home to Indiana and do…

I could stay here and…

I could…

I could…

I HAVE NO IDEA!

This is a nerve-wracking time. It can also be depressing. Suddenly, I feel I haven’t learned anything in the past two years/my whole life.

The reality of that thought pounded and beat on me today. I haven’t gotten better. I never get better. I’ll never get better. 

And then, something happened.

My family is into bikes, not in a competitive, spandex way, but in a three-year-olds-without-training-wheels sort of way. Biking was the summer go-to. It was the transportation of choice to ride to the gas station (that often ran out of gas) to buy Bazooka Joe gum. It was the only time our neighbors got angry from kids ruining their yard (which happened to be a short cut on the way to the gas station). It was the most dangerous thing Mom let us do with smallest list of warnings (that still included: wear your helmet, those better not be sandals, stay in the neighborhood, stay with your brothers, stay with your sister, not too fast, don’t be out too long, etc.).

During those summers, I learned how to do quite a few tricks on my bike: the side-saddle, the no-feet, and the classic feet-on-handlebars.

Okay, so I wasn’t doing BMX, but still, I was decent. There was one trick, though. The one I always attempted, but could never do.

Remember that scene in City of Angels where Meg Ryan lifts her arms out while riding her bike (cough and then dies cough)?

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Well, I really wanted to do that. The hand thing! (Not the other thing.)

But I never could. Each summer, I would try and try, but I could only ever do the one-handed, which isn’t impressive at all.

Today, when I was riding my bike back from my car (don’t even get me started on that), I thought I should try the no-hands. There was no way it would work. It had never worked before. But I couldn’t stop thinking, just try.

So I lifted a hand and then the other, and then the bike stayed steady. I put my hands in my lap, and the bike stayed steady. I put my hands out to feel the wind, and the bike stayed steady.

And the most lovely thought entered my head.

I am better at something. 

It wasn’t writing or planning or job-having or anything important. It didn’t make my apartment shine, or fix every (or any) problem in my life. But, there it was.

I got better at something.

Today, I thought I was a big failure who couldn’t have a good day, let alone a good life, but tonight, I know that if I keep going, I might just get the hang of some of these impossible tricks.

Tonight, I know that I’m getting better every time I try. Sometimes I forget that.